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Sat, Jan 20, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Tsai Ing-wen asks for China's goodwill


The government yesterday urged China to acknowledge its efforts to ease half a century of tension and reciprocate.

Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), head of the Mainland Affairs Council, said Taiwan's latest show of good faith was President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) New Year remark that the door for "political integration" over the long term was open.

"President Chen's New Year remark is a goodwill gesture," said Tsai, whose council formulates policy towards China.

But Tsai refused to define what Chen meant by "integration," saying Taipei preferred to keep its options open and that the politically polarized island needed time to form an internal consensus. "Integration is a direction. It could be a process, or a goal. We don't rule out any of the above," Tsai said.

"We have tried to respond positively to issues they are concerned about. Everything we do is to improve cross-strait relations, but we can't continue doing that if they don't reciprocate," Tsai said.

Beijing has virtually ignored Chen since he took power last May after defeating the long-ruling KMT in a presidential election.

Chen has resisted accepting Beijing's position that Taiwan and the mainland are part of a single China, lest it commit the country to reunification.

Tsai said she hoped the new US administration of George W. Bush, who was due to be sworn in as president today, would help stabilize the situation in the Taiwan Strait and not "preclude any possibility."

"We are hopeful that we will have the opportunity to exchange views with the new government in the US after its establishment," she said.

"At the same time, we will continue to exercise our flexibility and creativity in terms of a search for short-term or medium-term solutions to the problem," Tsai said.

"We would hope the US will allow the most flexibility for the two sides to find a solution," said Tsai, who leaves for San Francisco today to give a speech. She said she had no plans to meet US officials.

Speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, US Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell reiterated Washington's long-standing commitment to the "one China" principle, opposed reunification by force and promised to provide for Taiwan's defense needs.

On Thursday, China urged the incoming US administration to "handle the Taiwan question properly" to maintain stable ties between them.

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