Thu, Jul 10, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Legislator says China blocks cross-strait talks

FUTILE EFFORTS Chang Chun-hung alleges that Taiwan has made every attempt to start a fresh round of negotiations, but with little success

CNA , TAIPEI

Legislator Chang Chun-hung (張俊宏), who serves as vice chairman of the quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), slammed China yesterday for blocking a new round of high-level talks between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Chang, a member of the DPP's Central Standing Committee, said Taiwan has made strenuous efforts over the past six months to promote a new round of talks between SEF Chairman Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫) and his Chinese counterpart Wang Daohan (汪道涵), president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS).

"The efforts were futile because China has imposed many roadblocks," Chang claimed.

The first Koo-Wang meeting took place in Singapore in April 1993 to set the framework for cross-strait exchanges over the past decade.

Chang said the SEF has made every possible effort to promote a new round of Koo-Wang meetings to mark the 10th anniversary of the first high-level cross-strait rendezvous in decades.

Taiwan has on many occasions extended olive branches to Beijing and has expressed willingness to make compromises that would not hurt Taiwan's national dignity, Chang said.

However, Chang went on, Beijing has not made any goodwill responses.

"They have not shown any sincerity in paving the way for a new round of Koo-Wang meetings, either in Taiwan, China or any other venue of their choice," he said.

Chang cited Beijing's insistence on the so-called "92 consensus" as a roadblock to the holding of a Koo-Wang meeting. The "92 consensus" refers to a tacit agreement allegedly reached in 1992 between Taiwan's then-Kuomintang administration and the Beijing authorities that there is only one China, with each side having its own interpretation of what that means.

The DPP administration does not acknowledge the existence of the "92 consensus" and has instead suggested that the two sides shelve their sovereignty disputes and resume dialogue on practical issues to boost exchanges and forge trust for the mutual benefit of each.

In his view, Chang said, Beijing does not want to see any progress in cross-strait relations, far less a new round of Koo-Wang talks.

"The Chinese communists don't want to see any positive development in cross-strait ties as they are afraid such progress might help President Chen Shui-bian win a second term," Chang said.

Chang made the remarks after paying a courtesy call on Koo, who is a senior adviser to Chen.

"I visited Koo to show him my wholehearted support," Chang said, adding that he hopes his visit will help discredit media reports that he intends to replace Koo, now in his 80s, as SEF chairman.

Chang said he met with Chen a day earlier to clarify rumors about his desire for the SEF chairmanship. "I also felt the need to pay Koo a visit to show my respect and goodwill with concrete action."

Despite his advanced age and declining health, Chang said, Koo is venerated for his strong will in continuing to push for constructive cross-strait exchanges.

According to media reports, Koo was supposed to be intending to resign from the SEF for health reasons and because of problems with his family's business operations, but political analysts said Chen wants Koo to continue heading the SEF to symbolize stability in cross-strait relations.

Presidential Office spokesman James Huang (黃志芳) confirmed that Chen asked Koo at a July 3 meeting at the Presidential Office to stay on in his post.

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