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U.S. REAFFIRMS VIEW OF CHEN'S INAUGURATION SPEECH AS 'CONSTRUCTIVE'

2004-05-22 20:02:50

    Washington, May 21 (CNA) The U.S. State Department spokesman on Friday reaffirmed that Washington views President Chen Shui-bian's May 20 inauguration speech as "responsible and constructive" and as offering an opportunity for peaceful cross-strait dialogue.

    Spokesman Richard Boucher made the remarks after mainland China's initial negative response to Chen's speech in which its Foreign Ministry branded Chen's policy the greatest threat to peace and stability in the region and called on the United States not to be deceived by Chen's words.

    Following the White House's statement the previous day, Boucher said that "we do think that the speech was responsible and constructive, and we think it offers an opportunity, and we hope the two sides will take advantage of that opportunity to begin a peaceful dialogue again."

    In a routine press briefing Friday, Boucher didn't say whether Beijing and Washington had discussed Chen's speech, only noting that the United States had seen the statement by mainland China's Foreign Ministry and that some mainland officials had expressed views to the United States on the matter. and he is not sure if there's been an official statement or approach to the U.S. or not.

    When asked by a reporter, Boucher said the United States has not been playing any sort of mediating role in the matter.

    President Chen urged in his inauguration speech for a resumption of cross-strait dialogue for peaceful development on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and said that future cross-strait relations could take any form so long as there is the consent of the 23 million people of Taiwan.

(By Jay Chen and Lilian Wu)

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