Thu, Aug 23, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Chen calls for greater US-Taiwan communication

By Ko Shu-ling and Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTERS , IN ANCHORAGE, ALASKA AND WASHINGTON

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said on Tuesday that Taiwan and the US should strengthen communications, proposing a direct dialogue between Taipei and Washington to resolve issues such as Taiwan's UN bid and US travel for Taiwan's leaders.

Chen, while in Anchorage en route to Central America, told American Institute in Taiwan honorary chairman William Brown that he would like to see Taiwan and the US spend more time communicating with each other to find common ground.

"Taiwan is the US government's loyal partner and ally in values," he said. "If willing, the US Department of State or Defense Department can consider sending delegations of representatives to directly talk to us."

Brown that said he would convey Chen's proposal to the US government.

Commenting on US opposition to Taiwan's UN bid, Chen said that a majority of Taiwanese people are in favor of UN membership and both the ruling and opposition parties have a high consensus over the issue. It is not something that he can sway or stop, he said.

Taiwan's UN bid conforms to US interests, Chen said, because it is conducive to unifying the Taiwanese and bringing peace and stability to the Taiwan Strait.

The UN bid does not violate the "four noes" pledge nor will it change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait as the US government fears but instead will ensure the status quo, he said.

Saying that a referendum is direct democracy and democracy is a universal value that cannot be compromised, Chen emphasized that the Taiwanese people are entitled to 100 percent democracy.

"The Taiwanese people will never accept someone drawing a red line for our democracy," he said.

Meanwhile, the State Department on Tuesday refused to reply to Chen's complaint about his Alaska transit, saying only that the arrangements are "in keeping with long-standing policy and in strict accord with existing criteria."

A department official repeated that the stops in Alaska are solely for transit purposes.

The official also would not comment on the idea that Chen's limited transit was meant to convey US disapproval of Chen's plan for an election-day referendum on entry into the UN under the name "Taiwan."

While declining to discuss the issue, the official did note that the arrangements for this visit "fit in with our long standing practice and in accordance with our `one-China policy,' which is based on the three US-PRC communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act."

"We are prepared to facilitate on a case-by-case basis transits by senior Taiwan leaders in keeping with the criteria of safety, comfort, convenience and the dignity of the traveler," he said.

"The arrangements in this instance," the official stressed, "are intended only to facilitate transit."

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