Wed, Nov 17, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Chen hails Hu's signs of goodwill

CROSS-STRAIT AFFAIRS The president said Hu Jintao seems to be refraining from using Beijing's stock rhetorical phases regarding Taiwan


President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday hailed recent remarks by Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) as containing signs of goodwill that give weight to Taipei's expectations of a thaw in relations across the Taiwan Strait.

Chen made the statement while meeting at the Presidential Office with a group of overseas Chinese community leaders from western Canada and the US.

Hu is in Brazil on the first leg of his official visit to several South American countries that will also take him to Argentina and Chile. He was quoted as having told Chinese community leaders in Rio de Janeiro on Monday that China's development comes ahead of cross-strait unification issues on his government's agenda.

Chen said he felt that Hu's remarks signalled "some goodwill toward the expectation of a gradual thaw in the lingering cross-strait stalemate."

Chen added that he noticed that Beijing had refrained from using some of its stock rhetorical phases regarding Taiwan in a news release issued the previous day.

"In the latest Beijing news release, we found some signs of goodwill that we are paying close attention to," Chen said, adding that he takes this as China's initial response to the 10-point conclusion reached at a National Security Council (NSC) meeting that he chaired last Wednesday.

Since his re-election, Chen said he has repeatedly extended olive branches to Beijing in the hopes of resuming regular cross-strait dialogue and normalizing bilateral relations. Noting that he unequivocally expounded on the aspirations of his administration and of the Taiwanese people for cross-strait rapprochement in his May 20 inauguration speech, his Double Ten National Day address as well as in last Wednesday's NSC meeting, Chen said he hopes Beijing can make a goodwill response to open up a "window of opportunity" for the future.

Chen assured the overseas Chinese community leaders that his administration will continue to pursue normalization of cross-strait relations with maximum goodwill, sincerity and patience.

"My administration will adopt effective measures to create an environment favorable for cross-strait interaction and peaceful development for the sake of regional stability and the people's wellbeing," he said.

As a popularly elected president, Chen said, he is obligated to safeguard the nation's sovereignty, dignity and security as well as the wellbeing of the nation's 23 million people.

In an attempt to defuse controversy over national identity issues, Chen also took advantage of the occasion to call for support for the Republic of China (ROC).

"The Republic of China's continued existence since 1911 is beyond question. As the ROC's 11th-term president, I cannot tolerate any questioning of the ROC's existence. During my tenure, I will not allow any person to make the claim that the ROC no longer exists. I'll dedicated myself to defending its sovereign status, dignity and security," Chen said.

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