Sat, Apr 02, 2005 - Page 1 News List

President labels KMT-CCP deal `meaningless'

CROSS-STRAIT TIES The president said the KMT should have consulted with the government before trying to act as if it spoke for the people

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

PHOTO: AFP

The 10-point consensus reached between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is "meaningless" without consensus within Taiwan between the ruling and opposition parties, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday.

In his first public remarks on the agreement between KMT Vice Chairman Chiang Pin-kun (江丙坤) and CCP officials on Wednesday to expand trade, travel and commercial ties, Chen said the KMT should have consulted with the government first.

"We have our own country, our own government. To negotiate with the other side on such sensitive, serious issues -- not only did they not have permission or authorization from the government, they had not consulted with the government either," he said as he received a delegation of overseas Chinese from Osaka, Japan.

"If there is no consensus with the government, and if there is no internal consensus between political parties, what meaning is there in their own wishful thinking in seeking this so-called `KMT-CCP' consensus?" Chen said.

Cross-strait relations were an issue central to Taiwan's existence, Chen said, and the issue not only has direct baring on national security but also influences the basic rights and wellbeing of the 23 million people of Taiwan.

"While different parties may hold different views and stances with regard to cross-strait issues, when it comes to facing the outside world, there ought only be one Taiwanese national interest, and only one common voice that can represent the public's volition as a whole and safeguard the overall interests of Taiwan," Chen said.

Reiterating that the biggest difference between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait lay not in their separate governments, but in the disparity between their political systems and lifestyles, he said that cross-strait development "would be one of competition -- one of democracy versus communism and peace versus non-peace."

"A divided house cannot stand," Chen said, adding that "cross-strait policy can't last long, and can't withstand the kinds of test that occur when everyone goes and does their own way on the issues."

"Only by uniting and through a united Taiwan is there a way out," he said.

Achieving cross-strait breakthroughs would be a test not only of the wisdom of the leaders on both sides of the Strait but also of the leaders of Taiwan's governing and opposition parties, he said.

He said he hoped that the ruling and opposition parties would take the attitude of "putting Taiwan first" in pursuing permanent cross-strait peace.

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