Sat, Sep 09, 2006 - Page 3 News List

MAC's Wu open to meeting in US with China's Chen Yunlin

By Nadia Tsao and Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTERS , IN WASHINGTON AND TAIPEI

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Thursday in Washington that he would not refuse to meet with the director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), if the US were willing to arrange an opportunity.

But he added that he was afraid China probably would not consent to it.

As the anti-President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and pro-Chen Shi-bian forces confront each other in Taiwan, the wrestling between Taiwan and China in cross-strait relations was also proceeding in Washington.

During his visit in Washington, Wu has met with Dennis Wilder, the US National Security Council's Senior Director for East Asian Affairs, during a closed-door meeting at the Brookings Institute.

Chen Yunlin, who is scheduled to visit the US on Sept. 13, will also meet with Wilder.

Chen Yunlin will also visit Tom Christensen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Wu said he believed Chen Yunlin would attribute the responsibility for stalled cross-strait relations to Taiwan.

"The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) never objected to Chen Yunlin's visiting Taiwan," said Wu, referring to Chen Yunlin's planned visit to Taiwan next month to attend an economic and trade forum at the invitation of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

"We had to insist on the principles of mutual respect and negotiations," Wu said. "But it would be a good development if both sides could build a mechanism of negotiation."

Meanwhile, MAC Vice Chairman Liu Teh-hsun (劉德勳) said yesterday in Taipei that the Ministry of the Interior had rejected the application for Chen Yunlin's visit to Taiwan, citing "China's intentional avoidance of current communication channels to negotiate with Taiwanese authorities."

The announced rejection came one day after the executive director of the KMT's policy coordination department Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) said the party would move its planned forum from Taiwan to China.

"Improving cross-strait relations should be the common responsibility of both sides. Regrettably, China has refused to hold dialogue with Taiwan," Liu said. "China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (海協會) has not replied to letters sent by Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (海基會) regarding Chen Yunlin's Taiwan visit."

"On the one hand, China said that Chen Yunlin wants to come to Taiwan, but on the other hand, they intentionally avoid negotiations beforehand [with Taiwanese authorities]," said Liu. "Therefore, we don't think China is ready to improve cross-strait relations."

"Thus, it might not be meaningful for Chen Yunlin to come. That's why the Taiwanese government vetoed his application after waiting three weeks for China's reply," he added.

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