Sat, May 14, 2005 - Page 1 News List

No talks without sovereignty: Chen

CROSS-STRAIT TIES The president said Beijing's attitude has not changed and he wouldn't meet with Beijing's leaders if it meant compromising Taiwan's national interests

CNA AND AP , TAIPEI

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that he will hold talks with China only on condition that he can protect Taiwan's national sovereignty and the interests of the 23 million people of Taiwan.

Chen, who made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Formosa TV, also questioned the meaning of a visit to China that might demand that the nation's leadership accept some conditions set by Beijing.

``China did not make any concessions,'' he said. "[The formulation] would make Taiwan a special administrative region of China, a part of the People's Republic of China.''

"China's basic attitude has remained the same," he said.

"Why should we go there if we have to accept conditions such as the [so-called] `1992 consensus' and opposition to Taiwan independence?" he said, adding that "we will not go there to surrender."

In response to whether he would visit China and meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), Chen said he would not visit China just for sightseeing or other unimportant matters.

He also said he does not think any Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member's visit to China will have a better result, since Beijing still demands that the opposition leaders and their parties, who speak the same language and have close ideological and common backgrounds as their Chinese counterparts, accept certain conditions on dealing with cross-strait issues despite their visits.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong's (宋楚瑜) visits to China have proved that it is not that simple to hold talks with Beijing, he said.

Although the Taiwanese people and companies hope Taipei and Beijing can engage in a dialogue to reduce misunderstanding between them, without any concessions China would offer to better its understanding of Taiwan at the present time and only wants the island to accept requests that are not beneficial to Taiwan, he said.

Saying that if he has opportunity to visit China, he will insist on his stance of protecting Taiwan's national sovereignty and the interests of the people of Taiwan, Chen promised never to make concessions on his stance on China.

He said he would hold talks with Chinese officials only on condition that his stance is respected.

Taiwan will negotiate with China if Beijing does not raise any conditions or premises, Chen said, noting, however, that China insists on its "one China" principle, while Taiwan firmly stands by peace, democracy and equality.

Chen said China's "Anti-Secession" Law goes against the principles of peace, democracy and equality and has jeopardized the cross-strait status quo since its enactment in March.

While China might disagree with Taiwan's opinions, it should listen to the Taiwanese people, Chen said, adding that if Beijing only wants to hear what it wants to hear, cross-strait dialogue will not be possible.

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