Sat, Apr 02, 2005 - Page 1 News List

KMT confirms Lien plans China trip

NOT READY TO GO A Chinese Nationalist Party official said it is unlikely that Lien Chan would make any travel plans before the July 16 party chairmanship election

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) has accepted an invitation from the Chinese government to make a trip to China, the KMT said yesterday.

The Central News Agency (CNA) reported earlier in the day that Lien had held a press conference in Tokyo and said he was happy to accept the invitation.

Describing the visit as a "journey of peace," Lien said that the details of his trip would be decided upon his return to Taipei on Tuesday.

During a telephone interview with the Taipei Times yesterday afternoon, KMT spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文) said that the KMT's party central had been in touch with Lien since Thursday night and had confirmed Lien's acceptance.

"Secretary-General Lin Feng-cheng (林豐正) called Chairman Lien yesterday. During their phone call, Lien said he would accept the invitation and expressed his appreciation for Vice Chairman Chiang Pin-kun's (江丙坤) hard work during Chiang's trip in China and his satisfaction with the trip's results," Cheng said.

The invitation from the Chinese government was made on Thursday night by Jia Qinglin (賈慶林), chairman of the People's Political Consultative Conference, during a meeting with Chiang in Beijing.

Jia said yesterday the invitation was made on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in his capacity as secretary-general of the CCP's Central Committee, and was extended to Lien in his role as KMT chairman.

The invitation came as the last of a series of friendly gestures between the KMT and the CCP during Chiang's five-day trip to China. During their visit, the 35-member KMT delegation headed by Chiang hammered out 10 proposals for cooperation in trade, transportation and commercial ties between Taiwan and China.

While media speculation has placed the timing of Lien's trip for next month or June, Cheng said it was unlikely he would travel then due to his responsibilities for the July 16 party chairmanship election.

The director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), relayed that the chairman of Beijing's top advisory body Jia Qinglin had further extended an invitation to People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) to visit China.

Chen said any delegation that recognized the "1992 consensus" and opposed Taiwanese independence was welcome in Beijing, saying the PFP met both conditions.

Chiang held a press conference last night to explain the ten-point agreement he'd reached with the CCP, while busloads of protestors gathered outside holding various banners, flags, and signs reading "scum" and "disgrace to Taiwan."

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