Sat, Nov 19, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Chen Yunlin's application to visit Taiwan rejected

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government has rejected an entry application for Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), China's top Taiwan affairs policymaker, because of China's refusal to negotiate the matter, an official said yesterday.

Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Johnnason Liu (劉德勳) announced the decision at a press conference, after Chen's request for entry had been discussed yesterday afternoon by a committee that reviews visa applications filed by Chinese officials.

NO RESPONSE

Liu said China's unwillingness to negotiate on arranging Chen's visit was demonstrated by a lack of response to two letters sent by the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) to its counterpart, China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS).

"The decision was part of a supplementary agenda to review Chen's application in yesterday's review committee, as we hadn't gotten any response since the SEF sent the letters to ARATS on Monday and Tuesday," Liu said.

Liu said the government doesn't see any need at this time for senior Chinese officials to visit, as China hasn't shown any intention of breaking the cross-strait deadlock by resuming negotiations.

"It is an international convention to have prior negotiations on visits made by senior government officials, and we need to confirm whether the Chinese side has the intention of improving cross-strait relations during the talks," Liu said.

Chen was invited by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to attend a "party-to-party" forum to be held next month. Critics described the move as an attempt to usurp the government's authority by the opposition parties.

During a preliminary review process in the legislature on Wednesday, a pan-blue dominated committee slashed the council's operating budget for next year, except for personnel costs.

The pan-green camp has branded the act as a move by the pan-blue camp to toady to China.

PROTESTS

Council officials, who would be left without any work to do if the preliminary review is finalized, filed a petition yesterday complaining about the proposed cuts and urging legislators to restore their budget.

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