Thu, Oct 23, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Lien says the cross-strait dialogue should resume

OVERSEAS PUSH In another speech in Washington, the Chinese Nationalist Party chief said the KMT isn't selling out Taiwan by urging more talks with China

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER IN WASHINGTON

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) has urged the resumption of cross-strait dialogue based on the so-called "1992 consensus," but in a Washington speech apparently made an important shift in the definition of that formula to make it more palatable to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters and others.

Lien said that the dialogue should be resumed with both sides agreeing on a "one China" formula based on the presumption that "`one China' for us is the Republic of China, while `one China' for the mainland is the People's Republic of China."

"With this different understanding or interpretation, or respective interpretation, we could resume our dialogue based on the principle of `one China,' which is something on which we agree to disagree," Lien said at a luncheon hosted by the US-China Policy Foundation at the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday.

It was the second time in two days that Lien made the argument to press for a resumption of cross-strait dialogue based on the "1992 consensus," in which the talks were based on the "one China" principle with each side deciding on its own definition of "one China."

On Monday, he said the resumption of dialogue would be "acceptable to Taiwan only when China said that `one China' is the Republic of China."

The "1992 consensus" must be the "minimum common denominator for the resumption of dialogue," he said.

Lien complained about DPP charges that the KMT is selling out to China when it urges the resumption of dialogue.

"When you start with [the consensus], many people, including our ruling party, the DPP, begin to put a dunce's cap on your head. You would be accused of selling out Taiwan because you started with the principle of `one China,'" he said.

"So what we need to say today is that we reverse the order," with the differing definition of one China being the basis of any new cross-strait dialogue, he said.

Lien also made an appeal to his American audience by implying that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is a troublemaker who could unnecessarily involve the US in a military conflict with China.

"Being a good friend of the United States, we should consider not only the ROC's special interests, but also the national interests of the United States. At this particular moment, the United States already has its hands full with problems like Iraq, North Korea and international terrorism," he said.

"It does not need another crisis. It is also important for us, for Taiwan, not to add another crisis to its already full agenda.," Lien said.

In a clear reference to Chen's recently announced plans for a series of referendums and a new constitution, as well as his earlier "one country on each side" of the Taiwan Strait pronouncement, Lien said, "It make no sense to needle or provoke unnecessarily the PRC, which possibly may draw the United States into a conflict in the Taiwan Strait region.

"We have no intention to create problems for the United States or for anybody else. We are pro-peace but we are not pro-PRC," he said.

"So it is not our plan to play the role of the spoiler or a troublemaker. We want to be a genuine responsible friend and partner to our most valued friend, the United States," he said.

Later, Lien spent more than half and hour with the chairwoman of the American Institute in Taiwan, Therese Shaheen, discussing a wide variety of issues.

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