President-elect Chen Shui-bian (
During a meeting with Kazuo Aichi, a Japanese parliamentarian of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and former minister of Japan's defense agency, Chen said that he was sure that cross-strait relations would make great progress after he takes office on May 20.
"When I take office, prospects for cross-strait dialogue will definitely be better than in the past. And I believe there will also be more developments and opportunities for future cross-strait contacts," Chen said in response to his guest's concern that interactions between the two sides will have a great impact on world peace.
Aichi, who arrived on Sunday for a three-day visit, told Chen that peace across the Taiwan Strait is important for Taiwan and Japan as well as stability in Asia, Aichi said.
Chen, who has continued to show a mild approach toward China since his election victory, stressed that he was well aware of the importance of cross-strait peace. He noted, however, that China's attitude and behavior will determine whether relations between the two can improve.
Chen said worries over Asia-Pacific security were expected to diminish after an upcoming summit between leaders of North and South Korea and the established dialogue mechanism of the ASEAN Regional Forum. However, cross-strait dialogue has either been suspended or halted because of China's rigid resistance and insufficient mutual confidence between the two sides, he said.
"I really feel worried about the current deadlock in cross-strait dialogue," Chen said.
Apart from the talk about the cross-strait issue with Aichi, Chen yesterday also had a conversation with Japan's former foreign minister, Kabun Muto, during which the president-elect appeared to clarify his relationship with that of President Lee Teng-hui (
Muto, now also a member of the LDP, referred to Lee's contribution to Taiwan's democratization several times during yesterday's meeting.
However, because of an error in translation, Muto's compliments for Lee were misinterpreted and Muto seemed to be saying that the KMT president had made significant contributions to Chen's victory in March.
Chen, whose relations with Lee have been a topic of interest for the media, was quick to clarify, saying Lee never helped his campaign.
"President Lee did not help me at all. Instead, he had been lashing out at me during that time," Chen said. "But I never complain about it. After all, it's natural for Lee, then-KMT chairman, not to support a rival candidate." While trying to clarify the Lee-Chen relationship, Chen expressed appreciation for Lee's "indirect" contribution to his being elected.
"If not for President Lee's efforts in pushing for democratic reform in Taiwan, we wouldn't have had the chance to elect a president by popular vote. If this had not been the case, I wouldn't have had the chance to become president no matter how hard I tried," Chen said.
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