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PRESIDENT COMMITTED TO ESTABLISHING STABLE CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS

2004-05-06 19:56:01

    Taipei, May 6 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian reaffirmed Thursday his commitment to establishing peaceful and stable cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

    The president made the remarks during his first meeting with members of a team set up to establish a cross-strait interchange framework that included two co-conveners of the team -- Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh and Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Koo Chen-fu --to exchange views on domestic affairs and cross-strait relations.

    He said that if the team works well it will be transformed into a cross-strait peaceful development committee over which he might preside if every thing goes smoothly and that he is also willing to invite five members from the private sector in the team to be committee members.

    Chen said that the committee should address the issues of galvanizing a national consensus while mapping out cross-strait peaceful development guidelines and conducting follow-up discussions on the guidelines for government reference in its mainland China policies.

    Chen stressed that he and Vice President Annette Lu, who was also present at the meeting, were given a mandate by the people once more in the March 20 presidential election and that "we must deliver our promises made before the election to gradually promote peaceful and stable cross-strait relations."

    Seeking to dispel any misgivings about his attitude toward cross-strait relations, he said that "because of various factors before the election, the Taiwan people, as well as the international community, have been uncertain about the prospects for cross-strait relations."

    This is why he decided to "promote a peaceful and stable cross-strait interchange framework so as to create a stable environment for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, for Taiwan, and for the world's economic prosperity and progress," he continued.

    Chen initiated Taiwan's first nationwide referendum late last year, which was held simultaneously with the presidential election, although Taiwan's strongest ally and biggest foe -- the United States and mainland China, respectively -- had expressed serious concern, fearing that it was the first step down the road of declaring de jure independence.

    The two questions on the referendum -- whether Taiwan should increase defense spending in the face of the mainland missile threat and whether Taiwan should talk with Beijing on a peaceful and stable exchange framework -- failed because the number of voters did not pass the required threshold of one half of the electorate.

    Also attending Thursday's meeting were Morris Chang, chairman of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Wu Feng-shan, chairman of Public Television Service, Chen Poh-chih, chairman of the Taiwan Thinktank, Presidential Office Secretary General Chiou I-jen, National Security Council Secretary-General Kang Ning-hsiang and Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen.

(By Lilian Wu)

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