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Sat, Oct 20, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers unified in condemnation of Beijing

CROSS-STRAIT FEUD Only the New Party failed to denounce Beijing's treatment of Taiwan over the APEC leaders' summit in Beijing, which many called humiliating

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Setting aside partisan differences, lawmakers of all stripes, with the exception of the New Party, rallied behind the government in indignation over Taiwan's treatment over the APEC leaders' summit in Shanghai this weekend.

Major caucuses said that Bei-jing's persistence in strangling Taiwan internationally, as demonstrated by its refusal to receive former vice president Li Yuan-zu (李元簇), would only deepen mistrust between the two sides.

"By denying Li attendance at the leaders' forum, Beijing has once again sought to humiliate Taiwan on the world stage," DPP legislative leader Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said. "I hope this will awaken pro-China politicians here to Beijing's true colors."

Earlier in the day, Minister of Foreign Affairs Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂) declared Taiwan would not take part in the summit as China had not sent any formal invitation nor any special envoy to Taipei regarding the meeting as required by well-established APEC protocol.

Tsai said that Taipei has made a series of concessions in the last 17 months in the hope of improving cross-strait ties but Beijing has stubbornly ignored these goodwill gestures.

Suspicious of the political motives behind President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) appointment of Li as his APEC ambassador, China refused to issue Li an official invitation and suggested a delegate with an economic background be sent by Taipei.

Tsai said China has no right to meddle with Taiwan's domestic decision-making.

"We'll not tolerate any Chinese attempt to subjugate the country," Tsai said.

"It is time pro-China politicians woke up to the reality that no matter how hard we try, Beijing will never return our goodwill."

Sharing Tsai's frustration, the majority KMT legislative caucus said it regretted the latest Chinese act of bullying.

"We agree with the government's decision not to participate in the APEC summit and condemn China's rough treatment of Taiwan's delegation that is already in Shanghai," KMT legislator Chao Erh-chung (曹爾忠) said.

On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan (唐家璇) rudely interrupted comments by Taiwan's Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Hsin-yi (林信義), who attempted to make a statement about Taipei's representation.

Chao said that the APEC memorandum of understanding cited by China to deny Li's entry did not obligate Taiwan to obtain China's approval before deciding on its representatives.

"To my knowledge, the country merely promised not to send its foreign minister or vice foreign minister to APEC meetings when signing the memorandum 10 years ago," the KMT legislator said.

He added that the agreement did not extend to representation at the leaders' summit, as it was not until 1993 that the first leaders' summit was held.

However, the KMT legislator expressed concern that the episode may set a precedent for China and its allies to exclude Taiwan from international forums in the future.

People First Party legislative leader Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) agreed in part.

Chou noted that by turning down Li's visit, China has harmed its bid to bring Taiwan into its fold.

"The development will undoubtedly alienate people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait," Chou said.

Chou questioned the wisdom of China's politicizing of the economic forum but said the DPP government was also to blame for the stalemate by failing to name a better delegate.

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