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VICE PRESIDENT SEES SILVER LINING IN BEIJING'S LATEST STATEMENT

2004-05-18 17:01:40

    Taipei, May 18 (CNA) Vice President Annette Lu said optimistically Tuesday that she sees a silver lining in Beijing's latest statement on relations across the Taiwan Strait. "The 'five noes, seven yeses' Beijing statement shows that peace is the common language and value of the people on both sides of the Strait, " Lu said during an informal meeting with local journalists ahead of her inauguration for a second four-year term together with President Chen Shui-bian on May 20.

    In an unusual move, the Chinese Communist Party's Taiwan Affairs Office and the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office issued a joint statement at midnight Sunday that held out the prospect of re-starting talks and deepening bilateral ties, but warned that any steps by Taiwan toward independence would be crushed "firmly and thoroughly at any cost."

    Lu said the new Beijing statement was basically a declaration with respect to peace or war. To some extent, Lu said, she can recognize Beijing's earnestness and goodwill in issuing such a statement to expound on its stance and vision for cross-strait relations.

    In her view, Lu said, some of Beijing's proposals for future cross-strait exchanges are a response to President Chen's goodwill policy initiatives unveiled during his first four-year term.

    Noting that the Beijing statement is closely related to Taiwan's survival, development and dignity, Lu said President Chen will make a formal response in his upcoming inaugural speech on behalf of the government.

    Lu said she actually sees "three noes" and "two yeses" in the so-called "five noes" unveiled in Beijing's latest statement. "The 'three noes' -- no compromise on the 'one-China' principle, no compromise on defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity and no tolerance of Taiwan independence -- are negative to Taiwan. And the 'two yeses' lie in Beijing's declaration of no cessation of efforts to seek peaceful cross-strait negotiations and of willingness to seek peaceful cross-strait development, " Lu explained.

    Judging from Beijing's statement, Lu said peace is key to "straightening out" the often rough and volatile cross-strait relations.

    Nevertheless, Lu said, Taiwan must still exercise prudence in dealing with Beijing. "What Beijing wants is peace through Taiwan's recognition of its 'one-China' principle and eventual unification of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, while what Taiwan wants is to maintain its present status quo and sustain its growth and prosperity," Lu said.

    In the coming four years, Lu said she will follow President Chen in "straightening out" cross-strait relations. "It will be a tough challenge and we'll tackle all relevant issues in tandem with mainstream public opinion," Lu said.

    She urged Beijing to address cross-strait issues from a global perspective. Lu also outlined several principles for Beijing's reference in handling cross-strait affairs -- humanism, rationality and constructiveness. "I'm hopeful that Beijing can take concrete actions to show goodwill, creativity and sincerity toward Taiwan," Lu added.

(BY Sofia Wu)

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