Tue, Jan 23, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Former Lee aides questioned over talks with China

AFP , TAIPEI

Two confidants of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) have been questioned over their secret talks with Chinese emissaries in the early 1990s, it was reported yesterday.

Su Chih-cheng (蘇志誠), Lee's secretarial chief, gave his account of the clandestine meetings in Hong Kong, to the country's highest ombudsman, the Control Yuan, local media said.

Reports said Su had shown the Control Yuan members his minutes of the meeting, documented by Cheng Su-ming (鄭淑敏), chairwoman of China Television Company.

"Topics of the discussions range from direct transport and trade links, signing of a peace agreement, to party talks between the KMT and Chinese communists and Taiwan's first direct presidential elections," the paper said.

People First Party Legislator Chin Hui-chu (秦惠珠) demanded the investigation after the secretive meetings were unveiled for the first time in July last year.

Chin said she suspected the duo had violated the law, which banned ranking government officials from visiting China.

The idea for the landmark Taiwan-China talks in Singapore in 1993 was worked out in one of the early meetings.

Timing and the venue for the talks were decided later by the two quasi-official bodies -- Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait.

The report said the "tacit understanding" stemming from the Hong Kong talks was partly responsible for the island's democratization over the past decade, despite saber-rattling by Beijing in 1996.

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