Tue, Mar 01, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Clinton to Lien: Direct charter flights successful

PAT ON THE BACK The former US president praised the KMT for its role in negotiating direct Lunar New Year flights, and gave the KMT chairman a copy of his book

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

During a meeting with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday, former US president Bill Clinton commended the successful completion of direct Lunar New Year charter flights as being helpful to global economic prosperity.

Speaking after the meeting with Clinton, Stephen Chen (陳錫蕃), a former representative to the US, said that Clinton told Lien that the future direction of the world is toward world peace and economic prosperity and that increased interaction between people will facilitate understanding and cooperation.

Lien, who was also accompanied by Chen and by KMT deputy spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文), met privately with Clinton yesterday at his hotel yesterday afternoon.

According to a statement released by the KMT yesterday, Lien emphasized to Clinton that the administration of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) should not provoke China. The status quo should be maintained and both sides must re-engage in talks to create a "win-win situation," Lien said.

Stressing his party's role in facilitating the recent success of the direct Lunar New Year charter flights, Lien added that because the Chen administration has no communication channels with China, the KMT will do its best to act as a facilitator of cross-strait talks.

While Lien was originally scheduled to meet with Clinton at 9:30am yesterday morning, the meeting was delayed to 1:15pm. As the KMT chairman arrived an hour early, he had to wait an hour and forty minutes before having audience with Clinton.

Lien was the only opposition leader to meet with Clinton during the former US president's whirlwind tour.

The two exchanged during the meeting. Clinton gave Lien a signed Mandarin-language copy of his autobiography My Life, while Lien gave Clinton a ceramic vase, according a party statement.

Yesterday was the second time that the two have met to discuss issues. The first time was in 1988, during Clinton's last visit to Taiwan. At the time, Clinton was still the governor of Arkansas and Lien was Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In related news, KMT Legislator John Chang (章孝嚴) was critical of the way the government handled Clinton's visit to Taiwan yesterday.

Since Clinton was a guest of the nation, he should have accommodated the nation's host -- President Chen Shui-bian -- instead of the other way around, Chang complained.

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