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MAC EXPRESSES REGRET AT BEIJING STATEMENT

2004-05-24 23:28:14

    Taipei, May 24 (CNA) The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Monday that it "deeply regrets" that the Beijing authorities have the "wrong perception and stance" of President Chen Shui-bian's inaugural speech.

    The nation's mainland China policy charting body also expressed the hope that the Beijing authorities will study Chen's speech more carefully and respond positively.

    Zhang Mingqing, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the mainland's State Council, said: "Chen Shui-bian has shown no sincerity toward improving relations. If he sincerely wants to improve relations, he must acknowledge that Taiwan and mainland China are part of the same country."

    Zhang, echoing an earlier Beijing stern statement issued May 17, also said that "if Chen dares to challenge the people of the world, we will safeguard our national sovereignty and territorial integrity at all costs," reaffirming that "we will thoroughly crush schemes for Taiwan independence."

    However, the MAC noted that Chen's speech clearly showed his determination to pursue peace and the development of cross-strait relations and won positive responses from the United States, Japan and the European Union.

    The MAC pointed out that the Republic of China is an independent sovereign state, and that both sides of Taiwan Strait are independent to each other. But Beijing has consistently avoided facing the political reality and has tried to impose its unilateral view on Taiwan, which is a detrimental factor to moving toward peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

    The MAC pointed out that Chen said in his speech that he can understand Beijing's insistence on "one China, " but Beijing should understand the Taiwan people's wish for democracy, peace, survival and development.

    Both sides should feel with the same heart to honestly face the history and reality of cross-strait relations and handle future cross-strait issues, Chen said in his speech. "Peace and development are the joint responsibility of both sides, " the MAC said, and not the demands of one side to another, adding that Chen made it clear that as long as the 23 million people of Taiwan agree, he will not rule out any possibility with regard to cross-strait relations. "Beijing should understand and respect this," the MAC said.

    For the welfare and interests of the people across the Taiwan Strait, both sides should tread the broader, not the narrower path, and should avoid setting up artificial hurdles, the MAC said, hoping that both sides will move along "pragmatic and flexible" lines to create new prospects for cross-strait ties.

    On Beijing's statement that cross-strait relations are starker as a result of Chen's speech, MAC Secretary-General Jan Jyh-horng said that "we would like to delineate cross-strait ties over the past four years as relatively stable." He added that the people of Taiwan and other countries would agree with the description. "We have heeded Beijing's subjective perception," Jan said.

    Chiu said that "unstable cross-strait relations are not close to reality. Maybe it is because both sides have differences in perception in the content and criteria of `stability, ' but overall, there are no clashes."

(By Lilian Wu)

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