Wed, Jul 30, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Ou, Lai hold closed-door meeting to iron out strategy

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) sat down with Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) yesterday to discuss how to reinforce collaboration between the two ministries to improve cross-strait relations while maximizing the country’s diplomatic efforts.

The 90-minute private meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was closed to reporters.

Ministry spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) was asked to comment on the meeting only after a reporter saw Lai and her entourage leaving the building.

Chen, who was present at the meeting, said Ou had told Lai that since President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) inauguration in May, cross-strait relations had improved significantly and that he hoped that with warming relations and increased exchanges, China would gain a better understanding of the concept of a “diplomatic truce” proposed by the Ma administration.

The “diplomatic truce,” Chen said, is a goodwill gesture and an agreement between Taipei and Beijing not to lure each other’s diplomatic allies, with a pledge by China to allow Taiwan to increase its international space.

Chen said that Lai had cautioned that cross-strait negotiations would become increasingly difficult as the two sides move away from the relatively uncontroversial issues of trade and begin tackling political ones.

Chen quoted Lai as saying that the matter of Taiwan’s international standing would be part of the next phase of cross-strait dialogue.

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