Thu, Jul 29, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Investors told to steer clear of independence

CHINESE PRESSURE At a conference sponsored by the Chinese government, Taiwanese investors got an earful from the presumptuous Taiwan Affairs Office minister

Staff Writer

An annual forum on cross-strait economic development in Hangzhou kicked off with China's Taiwan Affairs Office admonishing investors in Taiwan to steer clear of support for Taiwan's independence.

"It is not permissible for individuals to benefit from cross-strait economic ties and yet remain proponents of Taiwan's independence while [in Taiwan]," Wang Zaixi (王在希), vice minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office, said in a speech yesterday.

"It is very dangerous for Taiwan to think that China would be willing to tolerate Taiwan's independence in order to promote economic development and to host the Olympics," Wang warned.

"Those supporting Taiwan's independence also express at the same time a willingness to develop cross-strait economic relations," Wang said.

He said that this made apparent the duplicity of Taiwan's policy on China, saying that there were different policies for the political and the economic spheres.

According to reports yesterday, the conference attracted roughly 200 participants, more than in previous years. The Xinhua News Agency referred to the forum as an instance of important cross-strait exchanges. It is also the first forum on cross-strait relations organized by the Chinese government since President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) inauguration in May.

The forum is organized each year by a research institute affiliated with China's Taiwan Affairs Office.

The annual forum was attended by several high-profile Taiwanese investors, including Shin Kong Financial chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進), Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑) president Lee Chih-tsuen (李志村) and Chinese Federation of Labor vice chairmen Preston Chen (陳武雄).

Several former Taiwanese government officials were in attendance yesterday. Former Control Yuan president Wang Tso-jung (王作榮), former minister of justice Liao Cheng-hao (廖正豪) and New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) were all present.

China Airlines, Evergreen International Corporation, Uni-President Group, and Yulon Motors Co also sent representatives to the forum.

Wang also addressed the issue of establishing direct links across the Taiwan Strait, saying that it was an internal matter.

"Direct links are a cross-strait matter. They are an internal affair concerning the Chinese people on both sides of the strait. It is not an issue between two countries," Wang said.

He said that China welcomed non-governmental organizations or enterprises in Taiwan to discuss the matter with China as long as it is in accordance with principles of establishing direct and two-way links of mutual benefit.

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