Thu, Apr 21, 2005 - Page 3 News List

KMT unveils details of Lien Chan's trip

LANDMARK VISIT While the KMT touted what it is calling Lien's `journey of peace,' Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou said the delegation should not usurp the government's role

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan, right, listens to the party's Secretary-General Lin Feng-cheng during the KMT's Central Standing Committe meeting yesterday in Taipei.

PHOTO: AP

Ending a month of secretive planning and media speculation, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) will embark on his landmark tour of China on April 26.

The KMT also announced the itinerary of Lien's trip, although it remained uncertain whether he will report to the government before his departure.

"This trip will be the first time that the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the KMT have met in 56 years. I will candidly, and honestly, exchange views with CCP Chairman Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), and hope to bring peace [to Taiwan and China], to bring stability to the Taiwan Strait, and to build a beneficial foundation for the future," Lien said at the KMT's weekly Central Standing Committee meeting yesterday.

The most notable feature of the itinerary for the eight days and seven nights that Lien will spend in China is the planned meeting with Hu on April 29.

The trip, which the KMT has nicknamed Lien's "journey of peace," will take Lien and his delegation to four Chinese cities: Nanjing, Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai, in that order, KMT Secretary-General Lin Feng-cheng (林豐正) said in a report delivered at the committee meeting yesterday.

The delegation will leave for China on April 26, and will spend the next day visiting the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing. On April 28, Lien will head to Beijing to meet with standing committee members of China's Politburo, as well as Jia Qinglin (賈慶林), the head of China's top advisory body, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The KMT has scheduled the Lien-Hu summit for the afternoon of April 29, after Lien is to deliver a speech to students at Peking University.

"[During the meeting] it is planned that there will be constructive dialogue about the peaceful development of cross-strait relations," Lin said in his report, emphasizing that the talks are expected to have an "important, meaningful effect" on the peaceful stabilization of the cross-strait situation.

After meeting with Hu, Lien and the KMT delegation will head to Xi'an on April 30, where Lien will visit his ancestral home and head to Shanghai on May 1. After giving a speech to the Taiwanese business community in Xian, the entire entourage will head back to Taiwan on May 3.

While Lin did not say yesterday what results the Lien-Hu meeting might produce, local experts have speculated that the CCP might grant Lien some sort of political boon, such as the withdrawal of the missiles it has aimed at Taiwan.

More than 100 members of the local media are expected to follow the KMT entourage to China to chronicle Lien's meeting with Hu.

Lien said yesterday he believes that if the meeting with Hu takes place under the condition that both sides are willing to work toward mutual benefits, and with peace, goodwill and sincerity forming the basic principles of the discussion, they will be able to explore a number of topics in depth.

"There are certain differences between [Taiwan and China], and there are also a certain number of similarities. The correct attitude [to take] is to seek a way to co-exist despite our differences while working to expand the effects of our similarities," Lien said.

A number of members of the KMT's Central Standing Committee yesterday offered suggestions and expressed support for Lien's trip.

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