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Thu, Jul 06, 2000 - Page 3 News List

New Party delegation to visit China in early July

TRACK TWO COMMUNICATION Not only is the pro-unification New Party sending a group to China, but factions from all the other parties have visits in the offing as well

By Stephanie Low  /  STAFF REPORTER

Amid a recent rush by lawmakers to visit China to conduct so-called "track-two" communications, the New Party caucus at the Legislative Yuan yesterday announced that it is sending a delegation to China on July 9 to exchange views with Beijing officials on political issues.

New Party caucus convener Elmer Fung (馮滬祥) said the delegation, consisting of five legislators and seven party officials, will be the first of its kind since the formation of the new government on May 20. Fung said the delegates will deliver the new government's cross-strait policy to Beijing and try to get an idea of China's attitude toward cross-strait relations.

"We hope to conduct direct dialogue [with Beijing] on how both sides of the Taiwan Strait can reach reconciliation and seek a resolution that is acceptable to both sides," Fung said.

Fung said the delegation will arrive in Beijing on July 9, proceed to Shanghai on July 12 and return to Taiwan on July 14. However, Fung said that under an agreement reached with Beijing the details of the itinerary will be kept secret until the delegates arrive, but revealed that they will "meet with people whom they should meet."

In addition to the pro-unification New Party, known for its close contacts with China, a number of lawmakers from other political parties are also planning to lead delegations to China. They include members of two KMT subgroups, the Taiwan Unified Alliance (台聯會) and the Generation-E Alliance (e世代問政聯盟). Even politicians from the Mainstream Alliance (主流聯盟), a subgroup consisting of major DPP factions, are arranging a trip to China.

Legislators from the People First Party also plan to visit China. Chen Horng-chi (陳鴻基), leader of the Generation-E Alliance, said the visits will be helpful to increase mutual understanding between Taiwan and China, since they all represent different points of view.

"In the past most Taiwanese delegations [visiting China] were pro-unification hardliners, and thus the true voice of the Taiwanese people was not really heard," Chen said.

Chen said Taiwan needs to keep a channel of communication open through these representatives while official dialogue remains suspended.

"Otherwise, cross-strait misunderstanding and hatred will deepen," Chen said. "Hopefully such contacts will build up an atmosphere of peace to pave the way for the restoration of cross-strait talks."

DPP legislator Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰), who is arranging the Mainstream Alliance's visit to China, said the group hopes to meet with Beijing officials during the trip, but it has not yet obtained an invitation from China.

"If the issues we plan to talk about are too sensitive, there will be a lot of uncertainties involved," Cho said.

Just as establishing contacts with China is becoming a trend among legislators, some members of the DPP are hesitant about the move.

DPP legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) warned that "track-two" communication with lawmakers may be part of China's "unification warfare" against Taiwan.

Chen said such worries were unnecessary, because the visits are not intended to replace the role of the government.

"In any case, if there are any proposals coming out of these trips the administrative branch still has the final say upon whether to accept it," Chen said.

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