Mon, Jan 10, 2005 - Page 3 News List

US briefs envoy on China talks

CROSS-STRAIT ISSUES The US has informed Taiwan's representative in Washington of the contents of recent discussions with the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office


US officials have briefed Taiwan's representative office in Washington on their recent talks with a senior Chinese official in charge of Taiwan affairs, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday.

Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of China's State Council, visited the US last week. His visit came amid reports that China's rubber-stamp legislature -- the National People's Congress -- will pass an anti-secession law in March.

As the proposed legislation will create a legal pretext for Beijing to use military force to unify with Taiwan, Chen's visit was believed to be aimed at dissuading the Bush administration from opposing the so-called anti-secession law.

The foreign affairs ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the government has come to know the content of Chen's talks with US authorities through Taiwan's representative office in Washington.

Meanwhile, ministry spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has named Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) to head a delegation to Washington to attend the Jan. 20 inauguration of US President George W. Bush.

Lee will attend the inauguration as Chen's special envoy, Lu said, adding that the ministry has informed the US authorities of the delegation's members.

Ministry sources said that the nation's top Chinese policy planner, Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), will be part of the delegation.

Other delegates will include legislators from the ruling and opposition parties -- Kuo Cheng-liang (郭正亮) of the Democratic Progressive Party, Sun Kuo-hua (孫國華) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Sun Ta-chien (孫大千) of the People First Party and Wu Tung-sheng (吳東昇) of the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

As the Legislative Yuan is busy screening several critical bills and the central government's budget plan for this year, the sources said, the roster may change.

In line with past precedent, the delegation is expected to meet with US administration officials and congressional members as well as think tank members during the visit.

Lee said a day earlier, however, that he is going for no other purpose than to be Chen's envoy. He said he will leave discussions on Taiwan-US relations and related issues to other members of his delegation.

Ministry officials said delegation members will have different itineraries after attending the inauguration.

While Lee and some delegation members will return to Taiwan, while others will stay for talks with US officials, academics and experts. Topics expected to be addressed will include Beijing's anti-secession legislation, Chen Yun-lin's just-concluded US visit, Taiwan's long-stalled NT$610.8 billion arms procurement package and Chen's Shui-bian's plan to form a special commission to promote peaceful developments on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

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