Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) met Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in Beijing yesterday.
Wu met Hu in the highest-level talks between leaders of China and Taiwan in the 60 years since the KMT retreated to Taiwan at the end of the Chinese civil war.
Hu called the visit a “big event between our two parties,” and said sympathy and aid from Taiwan for victims of the devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province had “moved us deeply.”
In a televised meeting before formal talks at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Wu offered Taiwan’s help with reconstruction work in Sichuan and said the “love and concern of the Taiwanese people was self-motivated.”
“Neither of us can promise that there will be no disasters across the [Taiwan] Strait,” Wu said. “But both of us can promise that, through our joint efforts, there will never be a war across the Strait.”
Citing as an example of Taiwan’s concern for the Sichuan quake victims, Wu said KMT Deputy Secretary-General Steve Chan (詹啟賢) was unable to be a part of his delegation because the surgeon was visiting Sichuan at the head of a medical aid team.
Hu met Wu in his capacity as head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), following the “party- to-party” protocol of previous meetings between Chinese leaders and KMT officials.
Following their one-hour meeting, Wu told a press conference that the two had exchanged views on the issues of cross-strait economic and trade relations, Taiwan’s security and international space.
Wu said he told Hu that Taiwanese want security, dignity and international space, and that Hu said that was understandable.
He also said he and Hu shared many views of the positive nature of future cross-strait exchange, and that there was a chance that the “clouds will be dispelled.”
Talking about chartered weekend flights and Chinese tourists traveling to Taiwan, Wu said both he and Hu had made mention of these issues, but that the details would be negotiated by the Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait.
Although the KMT could not represent [the government], Wu said, the atmosphere during this meeting gave him reason to believe that “[weekend chartered flights and Chinese tourists traveling to Taiwan] will be handled quickly.”
Hu promised to discuss Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), in future talks.
The KMT’s Mainland Affairs Division director, Chang Jung-kung (張榮恭), said Hu indicated that China cared about and respected Taiwanese, and would take measures to reconcile the two sides.
He added that Hu said the Chinese government understood the frustration of Taiwanese in seeking to join global organizations, and promised to make the issue a priority, including Taiwan’s goal of joining the WHO.
Wu arrived in Nanjing on Monday and will visit Shanghai and Yixing in Jiangsu Province before he returns home on Saturday.
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