Thu, May 02, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan not worried by Hu's high-profile visit to Washington

DIPLOMACY One of the president's top aides said the Chen administration feels sure that Taipei's best interests are being looked after in the US' political heartland

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The current visit of Chinese Vice President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) to the US will neither damage Taiwan's security nor the Taiwan-US relationship, said a high ranking official at the President Office yesterday.

"The US officials who will meet Hu are all friendly toward Taiwan, and therefore we are confident that Hu's visit will not bring any negative influence," said Deputy Secretary-General to the President Joseph Wu (吳釗燮).

During a tea gathering with the media yesterday, Wu commented for the government on Hu's US trip and talked about the cross-strait relationship.

Wu stressed that the US government has briefed Taiwan's US representative Cheng Chien-jen (程建人) and clearly expressed his view that Taiwan's interests would not be scarified during Hu's visit.

"Now as before, the US government keeps Taiwan fully informed while its high-level officials meet Chinese leaders," Wu said, "and the channel between Taiwan and the US remains open and direct."

Wu also stressed that those who believe that Hu might display a harsh attitude and pressure the US on the Taiwan issue were unrealistic.

"Many observers predicted that since Hu, who needs the support of China's highest-ranking political and military leaders for a smooth succession to power, would make some tough remarks on the Taiwan issue in Washington," said Wu.

"However, what Hu can achieve on his first visit to the US is limited."

"Aside from reiterating the three Sino-US communiques, what can be expected from Hu's trip is little more than some gala get-acquainted sessions," Wu said.

"Hu understands that any tough remarks he makes will receive a very negative response from US policy makers, who are friendly to Taiwan," Wu said. "This would be counterproductive to China's interests."

"In addition, before he successfully succeeds Jiang [Zemin] (江澤民) during the Chinese Communist Party 16th National Congress in the fall, Hu's best strategy is to speak only cautiously on the Taiwan issue to refrain from making any mistakes."

As to whether, after Hu's US visit, it would be the right moment for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to resume the contact, Wu said that better timing for new cross-strait talks would be next spring, when Taiwan concludes its year-end mayoral polls and China finishes its power transfer after the 16th National Congress.

"Many scholars therefore believe that then, the atmosphere between the two sides will be more conducive to resuming talks."

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