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Mon, Nov 13, 2000 - Page 3 News List

New Party walks out of cross-strait advisory group

LACKING CONSENSUS The only two New Party members of the cross-strait relations advisory group quit, saying the government was avoiding the `one China' issue

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two New Party leaders yesterday formally announced their withdrawal from the President's Advisory Group on Cross-Strait Relations, saying they were disappointed with the group's inability to reach a consensus.

"The meetings of the advisory group spent two months to discuss many issues but failed to reach any resolution," said New Party Convener Hau Lung-pin (郝龍斌).

"We were willing to help President Chen decide which direction to go in dealing with cross-strait relations," Hau said.

"After two months, however, we find that this advisory group purposely avoids the topic of the 1992 consensus on `one China with each side having its own interpretation.' Some members only echo the DPP's ideology and President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has also stepped from his `middle way' toward the DPP's stance," Hau said.

Hau said he and New Party Legislator Lai Shih-pao (賴士葆) -- the only New Party members in the advisory group -- urged the president to convene a meeting of the National Unification Council, saying this suggestion was supported by the three opposition parties.

"The three parties represent over 60 percent of public opinion, and therefore, the president can't continually avoid discussing the `one China policy' and the `1992 consensus,' Hau said.

Convener of the advisory group Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) expressed regret after being handed a resignation letter from Hau, but refused to make any comment publicly.

Meanwhile, the advisory group held its fifth meeting yesterday to discuss the "one China policy," but again failed to reach a conclusion after five hours of talks.

The spokesman of the advisory group said he regretted the two New Party representatives' departure, but said a consensus would ultimately be reached.

"The advisory group should transcend political party or individual interests and be concerned about national interests," said Fan Kuang-chun (范光群), "So, we won't be affected by their leaving."

"And we still welcome the New Party to return to our advisory group," he said.

DPP representatives in the advisory group, however, criticized the New Party of "manipulating" the cross-strait relations issue.

"Not only do we have an enemy cross the Strait [China] to pressure Taiwan but also a political party that uses cross-strait policy as an excuse to attack the government," said DPP lawmaker Lin Cho-shui (林濁水), also a member of the advisory group.

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