Fri, Dec 08, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Chen calls for peaceful dialogue with China

PEACEFUL APPROACH While meeting with Bastiaan Belder, author of the European Parliament's `China Report,' the president once again held out an olive branch to China

By Ko Shu-ling and Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

China and Taiwan must resolve their differences peacefully via government-to-government dialogue rather than through non-peaceful means, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday.

"We are happy to see the rise of China and hope it is accompanied by the rise of democracy and peace. We do not want to see a rise in military tension or hegemony," he said. "Cross-strait disputes must be resolved via peaceful dialogue and the free will of the 23 million people of Taiwan must be taken into account."

Chen made the remarks while receiving Bastiaan Belder, author of the China Report, at the Presidential Office yesterday morning. The report was adopted by the European Parliament in September.

As a result, the European Parliament resolved to express concern over China's arms proliferation and military buildup and recommend that the arms embargo against China remain intact until substantial progress is made on its human rights record.

The European Parliament also opposed Beijing's "Anti-Secession" Law and its deployment of 800 missiles pointed at Taiwan. The parliament called on China and Taiwan to establish mutual trust and work toward a consensus through dialogue.

It also agreed that the will of the 23 million people in Taiwan must be respected, adding that China's democratization would help ease tension across the Taiwan Strait and facilitate the resumption of talks.

The parliament called on China to support Taiwan's WHA bid and put an end to its efforts to exclude Taiwan from the international community.

In addition to thanking the parliament for its support, Chen yesterday acknowledged Belder's personal role.

Belder was hired by the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee to pen the report.

As the arms embargo was imposed following the Chinese military crackdown on student protests on Tiananmen Square in 1989, Chen said that it would be tantamount to encouraging China to further suppress its people if the embargo was lifted.

In a discussion forum hosted by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy on Wednesday, Belder said that China could not claim to respect the free will of Taiwanese while simultaneously demanding that any negotiations take place in accordance with the "one China" principle.

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