Thu, Jul 01, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Links talks a go if Beijing lets go of `one China': MAC

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) reiterated yesterday that the government is ready to talk to China about implementing direct links across the Taiwan Strait as long Beijing does not set any political conditions for the negotiations.

Meanwhile, Li Weiyi (李維一), spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office under China's State Council, said at a press conference that the two sides can re-open talks if Taiwan accepts Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen's (錢其琛) positions on the three direct links: transportation, trade and postal service.

The Beijing leadership has noticed Taiwanese officials' recent comments about the direct links, Li said, adding that accepting the "one China" principle is a condition that Taiwan must meet in order for dialogue to be re-opened.

Nevertheless, Li cited Qian as saying that the two sides do not necessarily need to touch upon the "one China" principle when negotiating the "technical details" of the direct links. "The links will benefit people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait," Li said.

If Taiwan agrees to "all of Qian's positions and statements" on the direct links, it can authorize private organizations and shipping companies to participate in negotiations with related agencies in China, Li said.

The spokesman emphasized that "direct links are in nature an internal affair" and that Taiwan should never define "the cross-strait links as links between states."

He said that Taiwan's attempt to "internationalize" the links has been the greatest hurdle in cross-strait negotiations.

In response, MAC Vice Chairman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said that implementing the links is one of the government's goals. "We have done a lot of preparation to re-open talks on this issue," he said.

"Taiwan and China can immediately talk about the links if China does not mention political issues in the negotiations ? Taiwan has displayed the greatest sincerity about setting up the links," Chiu said.

"We are sorry that China is once again blaming Taiwan for postponing the launch of the links," Chiu said.

In related news, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) said that the government should take aggressive measures to facilitate the return of Taiwan nationals who lose their passports while traveling in China.

Chen told a news conference that Tuesday he had received an appeal for help from a 70-year-old man surnamed Yuan who had not been allowed to board a Taiwan-bound plane at Fuzhou airport in China because he had lost his passport. The plane was destined for Taipei via Macau.

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