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BEIJING WILL HOLD TALKS WITH TAIWAN IF RE-ELECTED: PRESIDENT

2004-02-26 23:10:47

    Taipei, Feb. 26 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian claimed Thursday that Beijing will "definitely" hold talks with Taiwan if he is re-elected in the March 20 presidential election.

    Addressing an annual dinner party hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei, Chen predicted that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait will talk about the establishment of a peace and stability framework for cross-strait interaction, an agreement on guarantee and protection of investment, opening of direct cross-strait trade, transport and postal links and other topics in a pragmatic manner.

    Chen said that he is confident of winning re-election and gave an assurance that there will be no violence in the election.

    With regard to the "peace referendum" to be held March 20 alongside the election, Chen said it has nothing to do with Taiwan independence or unification with mainland China and that it is aimed at showing the world the Taiwan people's desire for peace and their unity.

    Chen reiterated that his "four noes plus one" pledge -- no declaration of Taiwan independence, no changing of the national title, no pushing for the inclusion of the so-called "state-to-state" description in the constitution, no promotion of a referendum to change the status quo in regards to the question of independence or unification and no abolishing of the National Reunification Council -- remains unchanged.

    Referring to the outlook for Taiwan's economy, Chen said that the country's economic growth will reach the originally targeted 5 percent this year and will even top 5.5 percent should the "10 New Major Construction Projects" program worth a total of NT$500 billion (US$15.1 billion) be carried out smoothly.

    The country's recent economic performance shows that policies adopted by the government over the past four years have been fruitful, he added.

(By Huang Kwang-chun)

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