Sat, Apr 23, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Lien, Paal discussed China visit: KMT

US CONCERNS The KMT chairman met with the US representative on Wednesday, and Lien affirmed the KMT's 'basic principle' of peace in the Taiwan Strait, a spokesman said

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) confirmed yesterday that party Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) met American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Douglas Paal on Wednesday to discuss Lien's upcoming trip to China.

"The KMT explained to the United States that peace is the basic principle underlying our position on cross-strait relations. The KMT does not advocate Taiwanese independence. [We] support the strengthening of cross-strait exchanges and this conforms with the American position," KMT spokesman Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭) said in response to questions from the media yesterday.

According to a report yesterday in the Chinese-language daily China Times, Paal met Lien at KMT headquarters after Lien presided over the weekly Central Standing Committee meeting.

Chang confirmed the China Times report with the Taipei Times yesterday and said Lien had made his position clear during the visit.

When asked if Paal expressed any concerns in regard to Lien's trip, Chang said the AIT had just wanted to "understand" the situation.

He said other US government representatives had been in contact with party officials on other occasions to learn more about the visit, which begins on Tuesday.

"The US hopes for cross-strait dialogue, and hopes that the governments of [China and Taiwan] can communicate. But before the governments can engage in dialogue, dialogue between other political figures will help bring peace and stability to the Taiwan Strait," Chang said.

Asked whether Paal presented any demands during the meeting, Chang said that the US was unlikely to demand anything from the KMT since the party was not in power.

Chang added that the KMT's China policy was enshrined in its official documents and that Lien and KMT officials accompanying him would abide by the law and not undercut the government's authority.

The KMT also issued a press statement late on Wednesday night saying it had noted the US government's reaction to Lien's visit and was glad the US had affirmed the trip.

The US had previously expressed cautious support for the pan-blue camp leaders' trips to China.

When asked about a phone call Lien is scheduled to make to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) on Monday afternoon, Chang yesterday said the conversation would proceed naturally.

Asked the same question yesterday, Lien told reporters, "You help me think of what to say."

Lien will take two sets of books to give as gifts while in China. The first is A General History of Taiwan -- written in the 1920s by historian Lien Heng (連橫), Lien Chan's grandfather -- and Through Reform is Hope, a book Lien Chan wrote last year.

Lien will also hand out a memorandum detailing Lien's thoughts on the trip, which will take him to Nanjing, Beijing, Xian and Shanghai.

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