Sun, Jun 15, 2008 - Page 3 News List

KMT questions Ma status if ARATS chief visits

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) position as the head of the nation must not be belittled if he is to meet Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), chairman of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) said yesterday.

Chen has accepted Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung’s (江丙坤) invitation to visit Taipei later this year after the pair’s meeting in Beijing last week to negotiate direct cross-strait flights and allow Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan.

Chiang met Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi (王毅) during his trip to China.

The SEF said it would arrange for Chen to meet Ma and Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) when Chen visits Taipei.

Asked to comment on the potential meeting between Ma and Chen, Wu said yesterday that the administration should first negotiate with China the capacity or title under which the president meets Chen.

“It’s important that we insist on being treated on equal terms, and President Ma’s status as the national leader must not be taken lightly,” Wu said in Taipei.

The KMT chairman visited China last month during which he also met Hu.

Wu said his talks with Hu set a good example of the two sides treating each other on equal terms and with respect.

Hu did not mention the People’s Republic of China or refer to himself as the Chinese president, while he did not mention the Republic of China during their meeting, Wu said.

Wu said the two sides should continue to seek a consensus to avoid sensitive issues and focus on practical negotiations.

During his visit in China, Wu addressed Ma as “Mr Ma.”

Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) also referred to the president as “Mr Ma” when attending the Boao Forum in China in April.

At a separate setting yesterday, Presidential Office spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) refused to comment on whether the president would meet Chen and in what capacity.

Wang said the government would deliberate on the meeting and related arrangements after Chen Yunlin confirms the date of his visit.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHIH HSIU-CHUAN

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