Thu, May 22, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Wu says China trip will lay groundwork for cross-strait talks

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) promised yesterday to lay the foundations that would enable President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to implement his cross-strait policies and to rebuild mutual trust across the Taiwan Strait during his trip to China next week.

Wu and 16 senior party officials will head to China on Monday at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤).

He is due to meet the Chinese president on Tuesday or Wednesday.

“We will set aside our differences and rebuild mutual trust with China. Economic issues will be given priority over political issues,” Wu told a press conference at KMT headquarters.

Wu, who will be the nation’s first ruling party chairman to visit China, will first travel to Nanjing on Monday to pay homage to Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) at Sun’s tomb and report on the KMT’s election victories.

The delegation will head to Beijing for the meeting with Hu and then to Shanghai to meet with Taiwanese business groups before returning home on May 31.

Wu has said he would not visit Sichuan Province, but will preside over a Buddhist ceremony in Yixing to pray for the quake victims.

Wu said he expected his meeting with Hu to set the foundation for talks between the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS). He promised that party-to-party negotiations would not replace the SEF and ARATS.

“I will not sign any documents with Chinese officials. The Chinese Communist Party represents the Chinese government, but a single political party does not represent the government in Taiwan,” Wu said.

Wu said the KMT understood that the SEF and ARATS would be the formal negotiation platform and that the KMT would help Ma seek better ties with China.

Meanwhile, Ma said Wu’s trip would facilitate party-to-party engagement between the ruling parties of Taiwan and China.

“We welcome it,” Ma said at a news conference with the international media.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA

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