A Presidential Office spokesman denied yesterday a media report that Beijing messengers have offered to help establish direct contact between Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to pave the way for a cross-strait summit.
Dismissing the report as mere speculation, Chen Wen-tzung (陳文宗), director of the Presidential Office's Department of Public Affairs, said the Presidential Office has not received any such information and has no plan to assign any presidential aides for the mission.
Chen said that President Chen has mentioned on many occasions that cross-strait differences must be resolved through dialogue and that a government-to-government format is inevitable in conducting such talks.
The president welcomes a meeting with Hu as long as it is not subject to any preconditions and believes cross-strait talks must be based on a national consensus and the best interests of the Taiwanese people, Chen said.
Also, Chen said the Hong Kong visit by Presidential Office official Chao Lin (趙麟) from May 18-20 was a private trip.
According to the report, messengers from Beijing proposed that contact be established through presidential aides of both sides, with the possible choices being Hu's premier aide, Ling Jihua (令計劃), and Chen's close aide, Ma Yung-cheng (馬永成).
The report said that Chao might have been assigned with the mission of meeting with some Beijing representatives during his Hong Kong visit.
Also commenting on the report, Lai Ching-te (賴清德), a Democratic Progressive Party legislative caucus whip, urged the media to stop spreading rumors that are not based on fact.
Lai noted that President Chen has said he is not afraid to negotiate with China provided that Taiwan's sovereignty, democracy and peace are secured and that he is willing to meet Hu in a third country.
But this scenario will only be possible through the mediation of the international community, and the visits to China by Chinese Nationalist Party Chairman Lien Chan (