Fri, Dec 10, 2004 - Page 3 News List

DPP says peace talks are viable

CHINA TENSIONS The legislative speaker accused the DPP of missing the boat on talks with China, but the challenger for his post insisted that peace was a top priority

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) yesterday said that with a pan-green majority in the legislature, the DPP would strive for cross-strait dialogue and increased exchanges, but Legislative Speaker and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said this would be difficult as the DPP had missed opportunities to build mutual trust with China.

Chang and Wang are expected to be the candidates from the pan-green and pan-blue camps for the next legislative speakership.

At a DPP press conference for overseas media yesterday, reporters were mostly concerned about cross-strait matters, and Chang insisted the DPP was determined to work toward cross-strait dialogue and peace.

"After we have formed a stable majority in the legislature, we will work extremely hard to achieve cross-strait peace, dialogue and exchanges," he said.

"Stability in Taiwan's politics will help progress toward cross-strait peace, and after the pan-green camp wins a majority in the legislature, we will have the governing and opposition parties work together to establish the Committee for Cross-Strait Peace and Development, as President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) proposed," he said.

Chang repeated this several times during the press conference.

He also said that for the two sides to sit down and talk, political disputes -- especially China's insistence on the "one China" policy as a precondition for talks -- should be set aside for the moment. But he said the issue of "one China" could certainly be discussed during talks.

"The DPP will continue to make friendly gestures on cross-strait issues, but these issues need cooperation from the other side too, and we hope they will understand our good intentions," Chang said.

Chang again insisted that plans for a new constitution and the recent appeal for government agencies and state-owned businesses to change their names to include the word "Taiwan" would not violate the "four noes" principle.

"We are asking for a new constitution because we want a constitution tailored to Taiwan's needs and which enhances Taiwan's competitiveness. The new constitution would not alter the nation's name or territory, and it has nothing to do with independence," he said.

Chang also said the prospective NT$610.8 billion weapons deal with the US was a means of maintaining peace instead of an attempt to engage in an arms race with China.

In an interview with the foreign media, however, Wang said it was not possible for China to enter into talks with the DPP.

He said that for the two sides to avoid war, the authorities should sit down and talk. But China was taking a tough stand and demanding that talks be based on the "one China" principle as it did not trust the DPP administration, he said.

"There is no basis for trust between the two sides because the DPP administration often acts against its own promises, so it is useless to talk with the DPP and China has become unwilling to talk with the DPP," Wang said.

"Only by building mutual trust can the two sides resolve this impasse," he said.

Wang also said that a constitutional amendment would not easily pass the legislature as it would require too high a threshold.

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