Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said yesterday he had discussed the possibility of Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA) with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) on the sidelines of the recent APEC summit in Lima, Peru.
Lien, President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) envoy to the summit, met Hu last Friday in what Lien described as “a meeting between old friends.”
They met for about 40 minutes at Hu’s hotel.
“One of the new issues my old friend [Hu] and I discussed was the WHA ... Although Hu did not specifically emphasize the WHA issue, he did reiterate China’s willingness to negotiate Taiwan’s participation in international affairs,” Lien said at a press conference at the Presidential Office.
Lien and his delegation returned from the trip yesterday and reported to Ma before speaking to the press.
Under the Ma administration, Taiwan gave up seeking full WHO membership this year, focusing on efforts to obtain observer status at the annual WHA meeting in May.
Lien said one of the five points in the communique he signed with Hu in 2005 was that Taiwan and China should exchange opinions and negotiate on Taiwan’s participation in international affairs.
Taiwan’s WHA bid will be discussed in cross-strait negotiations, but Lien dismissed allegations that China would only help with Taiwan’s WHA bid after the implementation of direct links.
Lien said the recent cross-strait talks were resumed under the framework of the “1992 consensus” and the concept of one China, with each side having its own interpretation, and it would be unnecessary to further stress it during future talks.
In addition to continuing to seek to sign free trade agreements with other countries, Lien said Taiwan would also be cooperate with the proposed Free Trade Area of the Asian Pacific Region (FTAAP) and other proposed multilateral trade agreements.
Lien said that in his meeting with Ma, he had conveyed world leaders’ expectations for Taiwan to maintain peaceful relations with China.
“Many leaders, including the US president, shared the same view on cross-strait relations, which is no unilateral change of the cross-strait status quo,” he said.
Lien said he also discussed solutions to the global economic slowdown with US President George W. Bush and other leaders, and expressed the country’s willingness to cooperate with other countries in confronting the financial crisis.
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