Wed, Jul 20, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Lien urges world to press Chen on cross-strait talks

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER IN WASHINGTON

The international community should prod President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to resume cross-strait dialogue on the basis of the so-called "1992 consensus," Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) told a gathering of conservative political parties from more than 40 countries meeting in Washington on Monday.

Lien made the remarks in a six-minute address to the annual conference of the International Democrat Union, a 22-year-old body made up of centrist and center-right political parties, including the KMT and the US Republican Party.

Reviewing his trip to Beijing in April, Lien claimed that the trip showed that "the ice has been broken and the bridge has been built, the groundwork has been laid for better cross-strait relations."

The trip "greatly" reduced tensions and the possibility of a war in the Taiwan Strait, Lien told some 200 delegates.

If the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would accept the so-called "1992 consensus," he said, "then dialogue would be resumed and peace, stability and even prosperity in the Taiwan Strait should be assured in the years ahead."

"The international community can help by persuading the DPP administration to, at a minimum, avoid any unwarranted provocations and resume dialogue with the other side of the Taiwan Strait as soon as possible for the good of mankind," Lien said.

Lien arrived in Washington on Sunday and spent Monday at the IDU roundtable.

He was scheduled to attend a breakfast roundtable for party leaders at the White House yesterday at the invitation of the Republican Party. US President George W. Bush was to address the meeting.

On Monday, Lien took the opportunity to talk with the IDU's acting chairman, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who has taken a strong pro-China line.

During a joint press conference on Monday in Washington with US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Howard refused to label China as a threat, in the wake of a Chinese general's threat to use nuclear weapons against the US if it attacks China in a conflict over Taiwan.

"China is a country that is growing in power and economic strength, but understands that military conflict of any kind is not conducive to her medium- and longer-term goals," Howard said.

He labeled last week's remarks by People's Liberation Army General Zhu Chenghu (朱成虎) as "irresponsible" and said he did not believe they represented the view of the Beijing government.

Meanwhile, during an impromptu press conference with Taiwan's Washington press corps on Monday, Lien was guarded about the results of the KMT chairmanship election.

Asked by the Taipei Times about the election, Lien said it was "an exciting experience."

Pressed as to whether he was happy or disturbed about Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) victory, Lien said, "What's that got to do with anything?"

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