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Sun, May 07, 2000 - Page 3 News List

US to review `one China'

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

While Taiwan's president-elect keeps sending goodwill messages to China, officials in Washington are pondering changes to its "one China" principle.

Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday used the motto of the Fubon Group (富邦集團) to paraphrase his policy goals for cross-strait relations.

During a visit to the headquarters of the conglomerate in Taipei, Chen said his administration shares Fubon's goals of achieving "affluence for the nation and the people" (富國富民) and "security for our homes and our state" (安家安邦).

Chen also said leaders on both sides of the strait should realize that these goals are the best point of "convergence, consensus and foundation" for improving cross-strait relations.

Meanwhile, Cheng An-kuo (鄭安國), vice chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, said a tacit agreement reached by the two sides in 1992 to disagree is the best solution to cross-strait relations.

Cheng said, "One China with each side free to make its own interpretation (一個中國,各自表述)" is the optimal consensus the two sides currently have and the only possible point of convergence.

Beijing has denied the two sides ever reached such an agreement.

Cheng also warned Taiwan's president-elect and his government that they should address the country's future policy direction even if it is only willing to discuss "one China" as an issue without any precondition.

In Washington, US Senator Max Baucus said on Friday that the US' "one China" policy is facing changes in the wake of Taiwan's two democratic elections.

Speaking at a lunch party that was hosted by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Baucus said: "I agree with many that our long-term, current framework defined by the Taiwan Relations Act and three communiques is not sustainable."

"Taiwan has had two free and democratic elections. This has transformed the underpinnings of the `one China' policy, although we don't know how this transformation will unfold.

Taiwan establishes a new baseline to define the meaning of `One China.' Changes should be prudent if any," Baucus said.

The situation in the Taiwan Strait is at its most dangerous stage, as president-elect Chen Shui-bian is under strong pressure from his own party and others who want him to push the envelope much further regarding Taiwan's so-called international space, while Beijing is also testing Chen on the "one China" issue, Baucus explained.

As to the question of whether China will hold military exercises to intimidate Chen in the next two weeks, the senator replied: "We hope not, but we cannot foreclose that possibility."

Baucus, who strongly supports the US granting of permanent normal trade relations to China and China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), opined that China's entry into the world trade regulatory body will facilitate Taiwan's WTO membership bid.

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