Wed, May 27, 2009 - Page 1 News List

KMT head meets Chinese president, targeting trade

FIRST STEP The Chinese president said the two sides should engage in ‘pragmatic discussions’ before carrying out unification with the ultimate goal of achieving peace

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) yesterday met Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in his capacity as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and touched upon an economic pact that the administration intends to sign with Beijing.

China’s official Xinhua news agency said the two agreed on many points during their meeting in Beijing, including launching talks on an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) as soon as possible.

Emphasizing that Taiwan and China belonged to “one China,” Hu said the two had agreed to promote peace, oppose Taiwanese independence, stand by the so-called “1992 consensus” and strengthen mutual trust.

Hu said that the two sides should engage in “pragmatic discussions” of political relations 苑efore carrying out unification and establish a military confidence-building mechanism. It is the goal of both sides to put a formal end to hostility by signing a peace agreement, he said.

Hu said Taiwan and China should forge ahead with preparations for an ECFA and aim for negotiations on the agreement in the latter part of the year.

An ECFA would be beneficial to economic development and public welfare on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Hu said.

Wu did not mention President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) or Taiwan’s sovereignty during the meeting. He repeatedly used the phrase daonei (島內, “within the island”) when referring to Taiwan.

Last week, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) earned plaudits from lawmakers across party lines when she referred to Ma by his title during a meeting with Beijing’s mayor.

While discussing Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙), Wu mentioned Sun’s role in establishing what he called “Asia’s first democratic republic,” but did not mention the Republic of China by name.

Meanwhile, earlier yesterday, Wu encouraged more Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) figures to pursue a dialogue with China.

“I am glad to see politicians from other parties in a dialogue with China. Many DPP figures have visited China over the years [in a private capacity] and I hope they can start making public visits,” Wu said yesterday morning.

His comment was a reference to Chen’s trip to China last week to promote the World Games.

Wu — who is on an eight-day visit, is scheduled to visit China again in July to attend a party-to-party forum — invited DPP politicians to attend the July forum.

Separately, Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) said yesterday that signing an ECFA was part of Ma’s election campaign platform and that it did not matter whether Wu took up the issue with Hu.

However, Chiang said that he recognized the concerns of the opposition and felt it was important for the government to negotiate with opposition parties and their caucuses before and during cross-strait negotiations.

“Public consensus is the best support for the SEF to accomplish its mission in cross-strait negotiations,” he said.

On the formation of a legislative cross-strait task force to supervise cross-strait negotiations — a measure that was approved in 2000, but never carried out — Chiang told reporters that the political situation had changed since the proposal was passed.

He suggested that the legislature could examine cross-strait agreements by having Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) call meetings to allow caucus leaders and committee convenors to hear reports from the government about them.

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