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TAIWAN MONITORING BEIJING'S ROLE IN TALKS ABOUT NORTH KOREA: OFFICIAL

2004-03-11 22:07:59

    Taipei, March 11 (CNA) Taiwan is keeping a close eye on just-concluded multiparty talks over North Korea's nuclear program in Beijing, worried that Beijing's emergence as a leading player in the talks will give it extra diplomatic leverage against Washington and Tokyo, an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday.

    Lin Sung-huan, director-general of the department of Asia-Pacific Affairs under the MOFA, told a news conference that a second round of multilateral talks about North Korea's nuclear program has gotten nowhere, but Taiwan is worried nonetheless that Beijing seems to be playing a dominant role in the talks.

    If that turns out to be the case, Lin said, it will give Beijing a strong hand in dealing with Japan and the United States, and that would not be in Taiwan's interest.

    However, the official pointed out an encouraging story carried in the March 11 edition of the Far Eastern Economic Review in which an anonymous U.S. official was quoted as saying that Washington would like to encourage dialogue between Taiwan and mainland China and help Taiwan to expand its international space, as long as Taiwan's president refrains from pushing the envelope and the United States is kept aware of Taiwan's real intentions. "Although it is not known which U.S. official made the comment, it is very important," the official said.

    The Far Eastern Economic Review story also said Taiwan's national identity is strengthening, a fact both the mainland and the United States should accept and adjust their policies accordingly.

(By Maubo Chang)

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