Sun, Aug 19, 2001 - Page 1 News List

US report blasts KMT interference

STALLED DIALOGUE The Center for Strategic and International Studies has accused the former ruling party of deliberately sabotaging talks between China and Taiwan in an attempt to discredit President Chen Shui-bian

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

Many KMT delegations visiting China in the past year have urged Beijing to avoid opening dialogue with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), according to a report on cross-strait relations released by a renowned American think tank yesterday.

But the KMT yesterday denied it has ever blocked Beijing from resuming talks with Taiwan, saying Chen's refusal to accept the "one China, with each side having different interpretations" consensus of 1992 is the real problem hampering the resumption of dialogue.

The report, released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, cited Chinese analysts as saying that the KMT does not want to see Beijing open dialogue with Chen because that might strengthen his position and increase his chance of re-election.

The KMT has urged Chinese leaders to await the return of their party to power and has promised to pursue a cross-strait policy that is more amenable to Beijing, the report said.

According to the report, some KMT officials have even urged China to further weaken Chen domestically by attacking him as an advocate of independence.

Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭), director of the KMT's Mainland Affairs Division, responded by saying that the report is "illogical."

"If Chen's administration has the ability to open dialogue with the Chinese communists, nobody can block it," Chang said. "If his administration doesn't have this ability, then nobody can help."

Chang noted that during their visit to China a few months ago, KMT vice chairmen Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) and Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) publicly called on Beijing to promptly reopen talks with Taiwan.

Also, in an attempt to make dialogue possible, the KMT has continually urged President Chen to accept the "one China, different interpretations" consensus and deal with cross-strait relations according to the "one China" framework of the ROC Constitution, Chang said.

He said the contacts conducted by Taiwan's opposition parties with China are helpful in moderating cross-strait tension.

The contacts have also helped China better understand the real situation in Taiwan, namely that Taiwan independence is not an issue important to most people, which has helped to prevent China from taking any extreme action against Taiwan, Chang added.

However, Andy Chang (張五岳), a professor of China studies at Tamkang University, said it "wouldn't be surprising" if some KMT members had attempted to prevent Chen from winning points for his cross-strait policy, though these people do not necessarily represent mainstream KMT thinking or have the authorization of the party.

"There have been many KMT members [traveling across the Taiwan Strait], and some are concerned only about the interests of their party and have always had a high degree of mistrust for the DPP," Chang said.

Chang said the DPP is the most likely, among all political parties, to make structural changes to Taiwan's cross-strait policy during its rule, because it does not have to worry about opposition from within the party.

Chang agreed that how to deal with the "one China" issue is a real challenge and an unavoidable question for the DPP.

According to the center's report, China is perturbed by Chen's unwillingness to return to the "1992 consensus," accept the existence of "one China" or admit that he is Chinese, but Beijing will remain patient as long as there is not any movement in the direction of Taiwan independence.

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