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Thu, Mar 16, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Soong seeks consensus on China

PLATFORM The independent candidate said that he was not interested in going to China if he is elected, but would consider sending his vice president

By Lauren Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Independent presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday pledged that if elected, he would convene a national affairs conference to forge a consensus on cross-strait policy and issue a statement aimed at renewing a constructive dialogue with China.

Before reaching such a consensus, however, Soong said he would ask his vice president, Chang Chao-hsiung (張昭雄), to go to China to speak with leaders there on his behalf.

Soong also said he would not rule out the possibility of sending a member of the DPP to China as a cross-strait envoy.

Soong said he would be willing to visit the US, Japan and ASEAN countries as president-elect before the May 20 inaugural ceremony.

"The future leader of Taiwan is not only responsible for the well-being and security of the people of Taiwan, he also has international obligations to maintain peace and stability in the region," Soong said.

"After I am elected president of the Republic of China, I will not only be the favored leader here but also a favored leader of the region," he added.

Soong said the Taiwan Strait has been pegged as "the most likely hot spot for war," but that "politics is the art of the possible."

"While the political dispute cannot be settled at once, I would like to use cultural and economic approaches to promote a friendly atmosphere, in the hopes of pushing through a 30- to 50-year peace accord under the auspices of international witnesses," he said.

Soong has said he would, under the auspices of the international community, push for the signing of a 30-year peace agreement to bring security to the Strait.

Soong also took the opportunity to launch a verbal attack against President Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) "special state-to-state" model used to define Taiwan's relations with China.

"It couldn't be more obvious that Lee's formula is not welcomed by the international community," Soong said.

"As a state leader, while he struggled to ensure national security and the people's dignity, he also had to strike a balance between maintaining sovereignty and avoiding an unnecessary armed conflict with China," Soong said.

Despite the fact that both the KMT's Lien Chan (連戰) and the DPP's Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) have expressed their willingness to visit China if elected, Soong voiced a decidedly conservative opinion.

"If China refuses to respect the dignity of the Taiwanese, I would not visit China if I am elected. If Taiwan's people fail to iron out their differences, what subject can we talk to the Chinese about?" he said.

Soong then turned his attention to the president of the Academia Sinica, Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), saying Lee would face a difficult time negotiating with China on the basis of pro-Taiwan independence.

Lee has offered to act as a cross-strait envoy if Chen is elected.

"Everybody knows that when strong acid meets with a strong base, it will have a strong reaction. Lee himself is a prominent chemist, so he should understand such logic," Soong said.

Soong also said that his national affairs conference would determine the nature of the message that was to be conveyed across the Strait.

"I would not deny the possibility of sending DPP or independent representatives to negotiate with China," Soong added.

Soong also said the current "dump-save" effort indicated that the KMT's presidential candidate has been rejected by most voters.

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