Fri, Aug 22, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Chen urges China to renounce force

PEACE PUSH The president said that he has made many overtures to Beijing in a bid to improve cross-strait ties and it was now China's turn to show some goodwill

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday urged China to meet his goodwill efforts halfway and renounce its threat of military force against Taiwan.

"I proposed establishing a `framework of integration for the two sides of the Strait' in my 2001 New Year's Eve talk and recently I announced a timetable to realizing direct links," Chen said.

"Those are concrete measures that promote economic and cultural integration and resolve political disputes. The measures can help create peace, democracy and prosperity for the benefit of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait," Chen said.

"I hope the other side of the Strait will do away with its irrational threat to use armed force," Chen said.

Chen delivered his message to China at the opening session of the fourth summit meeting of Taiwan and its diplomatic allies in Central America and the Caribbean in Taipei yesterday. At the summit, Chen also thanked the nation's allies for supporting Taiwan's recent bids to join the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO) and their assistance during the SARS outbreak earlier this year.

The president reaffirmed his sincerity toward resolving political confrontations between Taiwan and China through increased economic and cultural exchanges and integration.

"This is also the thinking behind the government's active participation in the process of Central American integration," he said.

The president vowed that the government would continue to defend democracy, freedom and peace on behalf of its allies and the world.

"By moving from the authoritarian to the democratic era, Taiwan has consolidated its democracy," Chen said. "Now we need to deepen the country's democracy by pushing for the realization of a referendum."

Meanwhile, Chen confirmed plans to make his third state visit to the nation's Central American allies in November.

"I have always believed that `head-of-state diplomacy' or `summit diplomacy' is an effective way to promote, not only international relationships, but also friendships between people of different countries," Chen said.

Representing the assembled heads of state, Belize Prime Minister Joan Musa said Chen's fight for freedom and democracy was admirable.

"His diplomatic efforts since assuming the presidency have been especially successful, and it is reflected in Taiwan's successful attempt to join the World Trade Organization," Musa said.

Musa also urged the WHO to give Taiwan a seat at its table and promised that Belize would continue to support Taiwan's efforts to join international organizations.

Musa also paid tribute to Chen's ideal of the majority taking care of the minority and added that the Republic of China (ROC) has made a major contribution to the development of Central America.

He thanked Taiwan for the assistance given to the region's banks, which has resulted in the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises, and Taiwan's continued support of the Central American economic development foundation.

"President Chen once said that Taiwan not only needs to stand up, but must also give a hand to other countries. I hope that in the future, exchanges between the ROC and its allies will continue to be based on mutual benefits and win-win strategies," Musa said.

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