Wed, Jan 26, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Cross-strait relationship needs dialogue, Chen says

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

In line with his drive to promote consultation and dialogue in the new Cabinet, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said that cross-strait relations are in need of negotiation and dialogue.

Chen made the remark yesterday while receiving a delegation of US visitors.

Freeing oneself, scrapping political scheming and casting aside ideological confrontation are the three guiding principles in Taiwan's efforts to achieve reconciliation and cooperation between its governing and opposition parties, Chen told his guests.

"The same goes for cross-strait relations. These three principles could also help normalize cross-strait relations, as well as developing these relations," Chen said.

"If the Chinese Communist Party leaders could let go of political scheming and ideological confrontation, I believe there would be favorable development in cross-strait relations," he said, adding that the recent agreement between Taipei and Beijing on charter flights over the Lunar New Year holiday was one good example of implementing these three principles.

In response to concern expressed by members of the US delegation that tension in cross-strait relations might rise as a result of the long absence of dialogue between the two sides of the Strait, Chen said that Taiwan is well aware of its advantages, as well as its limitations, and would not be so naive as to shift its responsibility for protecting itself to others.

Noting that a Taiwanese identity has been created during the course of the nation's quest to deepen its democracy, Chen told his visitors that the rise of Taiwan consciousness does not necessarily amount to Taiwan's independence.

The president cited an annual survey published by the New York-based Freedom House, which ranked Taiwan as one of Asia's three freest countries from 1997 to 2003, while China was classified as "not free."

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