Sun, Mar 05, 2006 - Page 3 News List

China to pressure US: official

NUC FALLOUT A Mainland Affairs Council official said that the ``ceasing'' of the National Unification Council would likely be on Chinese officials' agenda in the US

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

Deputy Mainland Affairs Council Chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said yesterday that China is likely to exert pressure on the US during the meeting between US president George W. Bush and Chinese president Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in April over Taiwan authorities' decision to "cease" the operation of the National Unification Council (NUC) and guidelines.

You made the remarks at a conference held by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to discuss US-China-Taiwan relations in the wake of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁)'s decision to scrap the council and guidelines.

The MAC official said that the Bush-Hu meeting in April is an opportunity for China to pressure the US to further rein in Taiwan, but he said the US would not do things to undermine Taiwan's interests in the meeting, and would simply reiterate its long-standing cross-strait policy.

Attendees at yesterday's panel discussion included former MAC deputy chairman Chen Ming-tung (陳明通), who said that the US' apparent acceptance of Taiwan's decision on the NUC reflected its realization that "China is partially responsible for the cross-strait impasse."

"China's obdurate refusal to conduct dialogue with Taiwan has forced President Chen Shui-bian in a corner," the former MAC official said. "On the surface, China always says it would like to have dialogue, but in fact when we really reached out for talks, China rejected us. The NUC incident showed that when Chen made noise to let the US know about the situation, the US finally realized it," the former MAC official said.

Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), director of the National Policy Research Institute, yesterday said that the NUC case signified that Taiwan had obtained space to advance its own interpretation of the cross-strait "status quo."

"Ceasing the activity of the NUC is not as strong as abolishing, but it certainly is more than just `ceasing,'" Lo said.

Lo also said that the US has learned a lesson from the NUC incident, which is that it has not done enough to facilitate cross-strait dialogue.

"The US is not a facilitator for China-Taiwan relations, it at best just mitigates the issue across the Strait. The US has urged Beijing to talk to Taipei, but ... it didn't take any action to push for that to happen," Lo said.

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