Amid bickering between the Presidential Office and former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan’s (連戰) office about Lien’s “one-China” comments, Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday defended Lien’s contribution to cross-strait relations.
Wu, in meeting with members of the Cross-Strait Business Development Foundation at the Presidential Office, said the path to the institutionalization of cross-strait negotiations has been a difficult and challenging one, and without Lien and other cross-strait experts in both the public and private sectors, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait would not be able to promote peaceful cross-strait relations.
“Chairman Lien’s trip to China in 2005 and his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) helped the two sides to break the ice and launch a series of cross-strait exchanges,” Wu said.
Lien visited Beijing earlier this week for four days and met with Hu and Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平). When meeting with Xi, the former KMT chairman said that cross-strait relations should be based on the principles of “the ‘one China’ framework, cross-strait peace, mutual interest and integration, and the revitalization of the Zhonghua minzu (中華民族) [Chinese ethnic group].”
Lien’s “one China” remarks, as well as another comment that political negotiation is unavoidable for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, raised concerns about the government moving toward unification, prompting the Presidential Office to immediately deny that Lien served as President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) messenger and that the comments represented the Ma administration’s cross-strait stance.
The Presidential Office’s response irritated Lien’s office director, Ting Yuan-chao (丁遠超), who insisted that Lien discussed his thoughts on cross-strait development in a meeting with Ma prior to his Beijing trip.
Presidential Office spokesperson Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏) yesterday shrugged off the criticism by Lien’s office and said that Ma did not ask Lien to give any messages to the Chinese leaders.
“What is certain is that chairman Lien, when discussing his Beijing trip with President Ma before meeting with Xi Jinping, did not mention the remarks he was going to make. President Ma also did not ask chairman Lien to deliver any message to the Chinese leaders,” she said.