Wed, Jan 12, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Koo's death brings new cross-strait era


The recent death of Taiwan's top negotiator with China has brought about a new era in cross-strait relations, noted Chinese dissident Wei Jinsheng (魏京生) said on Monday.

Wei recalled the significance of a historic 1993 meeting between then Straits Exchange Foundation chairman Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫) and his counterpart Wang Daohan (汪道涵), chairman of Beijing's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, marking the first high-level contact between the two sides after a five-decade hiatus.

Wei said the event was historic because it would not have been possible with Koo's efforts alone, noting that China was isolated in the international community following the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and was more willing to negotiate, while Koo had the full authorization of then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).

But with the changing times, cross-strait relations are now facing a new era, Wei said. He said that the US had hoped to solicit support from China in the war against Iraq and on the North Korea issue.

But Wei said he has heard State Department officials and friends in US think tanks complaining lately that Beijing has been dragging its feet on many issues, including North Korea and nuclear arms inspections in Iran.

Wei noted that after Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) took the helm in Beijing, the US and many European countries were hoping for a more moderate and friendly China, but those expectations have fallen through.

Taiwan should make good use of the situation to strengthen its international relations, he said.

Wei said that Taiwan should adjust its approach and strengthen its relations with Western countries to solicit wider support. It should also improve its publicity drive toward the Chinese to win their hearts, adding that it is futile to extend olive branches to the Beijing authorities.

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