Thu, Feb 17, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Chen-Soong meet shouldn't focus on China

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

While cross-strait affairs should be discussed at the proposed summit between President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), they should not be the focus of the talks, according to political observers.

Presidential Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun is slated to meet with PFP Secretary-General Chin Chin-sheng (秦金生) tomorrow morning at the Taipei Guest House to deliberate issues to pave the way for the highly anticipated summit between Chen and Soong.

Date, Time, Topics

Should all go well, a possible time and date for the planned Chen-Soong summit, as well as topics of discussion, are due to be hashed out during tomorrow's meeting between Yu and Chin.

While the Presidential Office has said that it is open to all topics of discussion during the meeting between Chen and Soong, the PFP chairman previously said that he hopes to exchange views with Chen on his party's proposed cross-strait peace advancement law.

The law, a draft of which was released by the PFP last October, seeks to establish a framework for cross-strait negotiations and formalize the status quo with a cross-strait treaty.

PFP's Proposal

According to the draft law, a cross-strait peace consultation special committee would be established. The committee would have the right to negotiate and consult with Chinese authorities without the authorization of the president.

Some political analysts have expressed reservations about the PFP's proposed law, saying it would seriously infringe on the rights of the president regarding decision-making on cross-strait issues.

"Cross-strait affairs can be a part, but ought not to dominate talks during the Chen-Soong meeting," said Chiu Hei-yuan (瞿海源), political analyst and a sociology professor at National Taiwan University.

After all, Chiu said, over the past five years or so both sides have become well aware of each other's stances on cross-strait issues and what is needed now is for them to seek a consensus amidst their differences.

High-priority topics for the meeting should include discussions on mechanisms to ensure the government's effective operation and improve relations between governing bodies such as the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan, Chiu said.

Others, however, suggested that priority should be given to topics concerning the public's wellbeing, such as issues concerning the economy or law and order.

Party Principles

Reverend Kao Chun-min (高俊明) meanwhile stressed the need to stick to principles despite talk of political reconciliation.

"One needs to keep in mind that cooperation is sought not for the interests of one's own party, but for the well-being of Taiwan as a whole," said Kao, who currently also serves as a senior adviser to the president.

"Respect, human rights and the sovereignty of Taiwan's 23 million people must not be compromised in the course of undertaking political cooperation or reconciliation," he said.


Noting that many have expressed concern that Chen, in seeking political reconciliation, might compromise too much in his meeting with Soong, Chiu said he is not worried.

"Judging from Chen's political personality, I don't think it is likely that Chen would cave in too much anyway," Chiu said.

Chiu expressed optimism toward the planned Chen-Soong summit.

"Since taking office in 2000, Chen has always expressed a willingness to meet with the heads of opposition parties, but the first attempt didn't bring about a happy result," Chiu said, referring to an incident five years ago when Chen met with the various opposition party leaders one by one, including Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and Soong.

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