Sun, Aug 12, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Council willing to negotiate Olympic torch relay route

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Taiwan is willing to negotiate on the issue of the 2008 Olympic torch relay route with Beijing if it shows sincerity and goodwill, a Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said on Friday.

Council Vice Chairman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源) made the remarks in response to a request by Jian Xiaoyu (蔣效愚), executive vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games.

Jian had expressed hope that Taiwan would return to a previous consensus to let the Olympic flame's relay route include Taiwan.

Taiwan rejected a torch relay route offered by China in April that would have included Taiwan as China's first "domestic" stop, with the torch arriving in Taiwan from Vietnam and going on to Hong Kong and Macau.

The Taiwanese government viewed the move as an intentional move to denigrate its sovereignty.

Tung said that Taiwan rejected China's proposal because it violated a formal agreement reached by both sides in 1989 that ensures Taiwan has equal sporting status with China by referring to Taiwan as "Chinese Taipei." China has often referred to Taiwan as "Taipei, China."

He added that the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC), as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has the right to participate in IOC international sporting events on equal terms with other members.

Tung said that Taiwanese look forward to the passing of the Olympic torch, and the CTOC would contact Beijing on the issue to finalize a decision on the route before the September deadline, Tung said.

Taiwan has several basic requirements for the negotiation, including that both sides follow IOC regulations, that Beijing shall not downgrade Taiwan's sovereignty and that the negotiation will benefit future interaction between the two sides.

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