Sun, Feb 20, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Investment reform needed before Chen meet, Soong says

CNA , Taipei

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) may meet with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) next week if the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government responds positively to a call to relax restrictions on investment in China, PFP officials said yesterday.

Top aides of Chen and Soong met Friday to discuss the technical details of the Chen-Soong meeting but failed to set a date for it.

PFP politicians claimed that the atmosphere was improper at present for such a meeting in the wake of raids launched by prosecutors on semiconductor giant United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) over alleged unlawful investments made by the company in China.

UMC Chairman Robert Tsao (曹興誠) is known to be a close friend of Soong and a supporter of the PFP.

According to the PFP officials, the UMC case indicates that the government's policy toward China is already out of date and that it is necessary for the opposition to push the government to address the problems faced by local industry and to seek to relax its policy.

The Chen-Soong meeting will only be meaningful if the DPP government is willing to change its cross-Taiwan Strait policy, the officials said.

Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄), convener of the PFP legislative caucus, said the UMC case has sent a shockwave across the hi-tech sector and has cast doubt on the DPP's sincerity in seeking political stability through the Chen-Soong meeting.

Chen Wen-tzung (陳文宗), a spokesman for the Presidential Office, said the opinions of the PFP have been heard and that the president's aides will keep in contact with the PFP to try to hammer out a date for the meeting.

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