Sun, Oct 19, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Lee seeks talks with Chinese leader

GOOD START After receiving a warm welcome to the APEC meeting, special emissary Lee Yuan-tseh said he hopes to talk about some important matters with Hu Jintao

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN BANGKOK

Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) special emissary to APEC, says he wants to speak with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) about cross-strait issues.

"When I have the opportunity to talk to Hu, I may first congratulate him on the launch of China's first space flight a couple days ago," said Lee, referring to China's first manned space flight launched last Wednesday. The flight made China only the third nation, after the former Soviet Union and the US, to put a man into space.

"And if I have more time, I may talk about cross-strait issues with him and I hope that both sides of the Taiwan Strait will sit down and talk, so that misunderstandings or controversies such as the 1992 consensus can be dealt with. And then we can talk about issues of mutual concern," Lee said.

Lee made the remarks at a press conference held at Queen Sirikit Convention Center a few hours after his arrival here yesterday.

The press conference, packed with foreign and Taiwanese media, was conducted in both English and Chinese Mandarin.

Lee was asked to compare Hu with with China's former president, Jiang Zemin (江澤民), with whom who Lee had a brief interchange during last year's APEC meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Lee, noting that Hu is younger than him while Chiang was older than him, said that he had "personally witnessed the transition from the older generation to the younger generation."

Noting that he has not yet met with Hu in person but only learned about him from media coverage, Lee said that he look forward to having a chance to meet with Hu and said he was hopeful.

"When you meet different people you have different expectations, and this year I wish that new expectation will perhaps create new opportunities," Lee said.

"And I do hope that Chairman Hu and President Chen will have the opportunity to meet with each other to talk about cross-strait issues in the future," Lee added.

Stressing that misunderstandings are the results of a lack of exchanges and dialogue, Lee also called on Beijing to open dialogue with Taipei.

Lee also said that if he had a chance to meet with US. President George W. Bush, "I may first of all convey to him greetings from President Chen and then we may discuss East Asia's economic development. Depending on the situation, if we have more time, we may talk more about trade with the US."

Lee said that Chen did not give him any specific or concrete directions on how to deal with items being discussed during the forum.

"[The president] fully trusts our delegation and the decisions can be made by our delegation," Lee said.

Lee's arrived yesterday and received a respectful welcome from the Thai-government, the host of this year's APEC meeting.

A motorcade of 10 cars was dispatched by the Thai government to pick up Lee from the Bangkok International Airport. Lee was welcomed by Thai Minister of Information, Communication and Technology Surapong Surbwonglee and scores of Taiwanese officials, including Taipei's Representative to Thailand Paul Cheng (鄭博久).

To ensure the safety of Lee and the Taiwanese delegation, a BELL206 helicopter accompanied Lee's motorcade all the way from the airport to Dusit Thani Hotel, where Lee and members of the Taiwan delegation are staying.

A score of Thai bodyguards have also been dispatched by Bangkok to ensure Lee's safety while attending the informal APEC Economic Leaders Meeting on behalf of Chen.

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