Fri, May 07, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Cross-strait task force convenes

NEW FRAMEWORK The elite group is tasked to deliver on the president's election promise and break new ground in communicating with a normally reluctant Beijing

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday convened the first meeting of his nine-member task force charged with implementing a peace and stability framework for cross-strait interaction.

Chen said the task force's priority for the moment was to draw up guidelines that would further peaceful interaction between Taiwan and China.

"For a number of reasons, the people of Taiwan and the international community have expressed concern over future instability in cross-strait relations," Chen told the meeting held at the Presidential Office.

"I therefore decided before the election to endeavor to build a peace and stability framework," he said.

"Now that the election has run its course, and with the people putting their trust in myself and Vice President [Annette] Lu (呂秀蓮), I must act on my promise," Chen said.

Chen stressed that the task force was just the first step and that, if the task force operated smoothly, a cross-strait peace development committee would be formed.

"We need to create criteria for the development of a peaceful and stable cross-strait relationship, creating a consensus of the government, the opposition alliance and all the people of Taiwan, I hope that this will be the first goal that the task force can accomplish," he said.

Chen announced in January that he would form a nine-member task force to set up the framework if he won the presidential election.

Chen also said that the task force would send a representative to Beijing to facilitate contact with the Chinese government.

High-powered members of the task force include Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫), Academic Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀), Public Television Service chairman Wu Feng-shan (吳豐山) and Taiwan Thinktank chairman Chen Po-chih (陳博志).

Task force members made suggestions on improving interaction with Beijing but remained tight-lipped yesterday.

"We gave our points of view to the president," Wu said, "however, it is inappropriate to go into the details of our meeting for the time being."

Chen Po-chih also refused to comment on the content of their discussion.

Other task force members are government officials with responsibilities in cross-strait affairs, such as Presidential Office Secretary General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁), National Security Council Secretary General Kang Ning-hsiang (康寧祥) and Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

Vice President Annette Lu also sits on the task force.

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