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KMT CHIEF ADVOCATES CROSS-STRAIT STATUS QUO

2004-03-08 22:59:33

    Taipei, March 8 (CNA) Opposition presidential candidate Lien Chan said in a recent interview with Time magazine that his camp believes in maintaining the status quo in regard to relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

    Lien, who is the sole challenger of President Chen Shui-bian in Taiwan's March 20 presidential election, noted that the Republic of China has been in existence for 93 years and said that his "pan-blue alliance" of the opposition Kuomintang and its ally the People First Party, opposes Taiwan independence and does not see unification with mainland China likely in the foreseeable future.

    Lien said that if the mainland insists on the resumption of cross-strait talks under the "one China" principle, then it will be difficult for such talks to resume.

    This is because for the "pan-blue alliance, " "one China" means the Republic of China, Lien said, a concept that Beijing refuses to acknowledge.

    He also said that if elected March 20, he will embark on a "peace journey" to the mainland before his May 20 inauguration and will propose to Beijing that it gradually dismantle the missiles it has deployed against Taiwan.

    He said he has no way of knowing if Beijing would welcome such a visit, or its attitude toward resuming cross-strait talks.

    But he said Beijing should know that it will be different dealing with his alliance than with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, because while his alliance will insist on the sovereignty of the ROC, it will not promote Taiwan independence.

    He also said that if confrontation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait continues, it will become more and more difficult for Taiwan.

    The disputes over sovereignty will not be resolved in the foreseeable future, but there are many issues concerning the common interests of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, Lien observed, adding that cross-strait relations are a self-imposed blockage. By this, he meant that cross-strait political relations are stalled, but in all other ways, exchanges are brisk.

    With the strengthening of Taiwan's democracy, the consciousness of Taiwanese people has been raised, Lien said, adding that it is natural and healthy to be democratic and Taiwanized, although one should not consider narrow-minded Taiwanization as tantamount to democracy.

    He added that every Taiwan person will fight for Taiwan's democracy and freedom regardless of his background or political affiliation.

(By Lilian Wu)

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