Mon, May 02, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Lien visits the grave of his grandmother

CHINA TRIP On the second day of his stop in Xian, Lien Chan paid his respects at the grave of his grandmother for the first time in 60 years

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Fulfilling his family obligations at last, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday capped the end of his hometown visit in Xian, China with a trip to his grandmother's grave before heading to Shanghai to meet with China's top negotiator with Taiwan, Wang Daohan (汪道涵), today.

"This moment is an unforgettable one for the Lien family... Sixty-some years is a long time; in the past, there was no way to come here to pay my respects. I am moved and grateful for this moment," Lien said yesterday.

Accompanied by his wife Lien Fang Yu (連方瑀), son Sean Lien (連勝文) and daughter Lien Hui-hsin (連惠心), Lien paid his respects at his grandmother's grave and lit incense at a neighboring temple.

Speaking in Taiwanese, Lien said that visiting his grandmother's grave for the first time since his departure from China made all of the bitterness and sadness of the past 60-some years well up in his heart.

Yesterday was the first time that Lien family members had been back to sweep his grandmother's grave since his family left for Taiwan, Lien said.

After sweeping his grandmother's grave in the afternoon, Lien and his accompanying delegation flew to Shanghai, where he will spend two days.

According to a CNA report yesterday, Lien is scheduled to meet with Wang, the chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, this morning, after which he will meet with local Taiwanese businessmen.

Lien is scheduled to return to the nation tomorrow. Many fear a bloody encounter, reminiscent of the violence seen at the airport during Lien's departure for China on April 26.

Wang, currently hospitalized, reportedly will leave his hospital room to meet with Lien at a nearby hotel for talks, probably on issues including the so-called "1992 consensus" -- that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait hold different interpretations on the definition of "one China."

Wang met with Taiwan's top negotiator with China, Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫), in Singapore in late April 1993, marking the first rendezvous of top government-authorized negotiators from China and Taiwan after the two sides had had no contact for nearly 50 years.

Koo and Wang met again in 1998 in Shanghai, known as the second "Koo-Wang" talks, but their third meeting never came about after former president Lee Teng-hui (Lee Teng-hui) redefined "cross-strait relations" as special "state-to-state" relations in 1999, whereupon Beijing closed its door to dialogue with Taiwan, accusing Lee of promoting Taiwan independence.

Koo died at the age of 88 in March.

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