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BEIJING HOLDS THE KEY TO RECONCILIATION: MAC OFFICIALS

2004-03-31 17:15:08

    Taipei, March 31 (CNA) Beijing holds the key to whether the two sides of the Taiwan Strait can appoint representatives from each side in efforts to seek peace and stability across the strait, a Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said Wednesday.

    In view of President Chen Shui-bian's recent calls for both sides to seriously consider engaging in negotiations through formally authorized representatives as soon as possible, Jan Jyh-horng, director of the MAC's Department of Research and Planning, said that although Taiwan is willing to do so immediately, it will still require willingness from both sides before any cross-strait consensus on the matter can be reached.

    Jan quoted MAC Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen as having said recently that for benign interaction across the strait, there must be a marriage of "a subjective intention and an objective climate." "Formal cross-strait interaction in a spirit of goodwill will be impossible if either of these two conditions are absent, " Tsai was quoted as saying.

    Jan stressed the importance of delegating representatives from both sides, saying that only through such officially authorized representatives can the two sides communicate sufficiently and avoid misunderstandings.

    He said the mainland Chinese authorities have become increasingly confident in China's economic reforms and growth and he expressed hope that the Beijing leadership will also become confident in China's internal reforms and cross-strait relations so as to benefit the creation of an easier environment for better cross-strait interaction.

    In his first news conference with members of the media from home and abroad this year held Feb. 3 to promote the March 20 referendum, Chen called for a cross-strait agreement to serve as the basis for future cooperation and the maintenance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. "With the concrete, common goal of seeking peace and stability, we must seriously consider engaging in negotiations through formally authorized representatives from both sides as early as possible, " Chen said. "After March 20, " the president went on, "we will invite mainland China to appoint a special envoy to meet and work with our special envoy towards the initiation of cross-strait negotiation, in light of 'one principle and four major issue areas.'"

    The "one principle" is the establishment of the principle of peace, Chen said, adding that in order to establish joint responsibility for maintaining peace and the consensus for cooperation, both sides must recognize that maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait is the joint responsibility of both parties and should, therefore, necessitate working together.

    The "four issue areas, " meanwhile, are: the establishment of a negotiation mechanism; exchanges based on equality and reciprocity; the establishment of a political relationship; and the prevention of military conflicts.

(By Deborah Kuo)

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