China promises to resume cross-strait dialogue: KMT chief
ROC Central News Agency
Beijing, May 28 (CNA) The head of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has promised to resume the long-stalled dialogue between the two quasi-official intermediary bodies on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait as soon as possible, Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung said Wednesday.
Wu, who is in Beijing on the second leg of his current six-day visit to China, made the remarks after an hour-long closed-door meeting with CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao, who concurrently serves as China's president.
Speaking at a news conference held after his high-profile meeting with Hu, Wu said his host promised to help push for an early resumption of the institutionalized engagement between the Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS).
The SEF and the ARATS were founded by their respective governments in the early 1990s to handle cross-strait exchanges in the absence of official ties. Their regular dialogue, however, has been suspended since 1999 after Taiwan's then-President Lee Teng-hui defined cross-strait ties as a special state-to-state relationship. Beijing viewed Lee's remarks as a move to promote Taiwan independence and has since suspended institutionalized SEF-ARATS talks.
In addition to agreeing to resume SEF-ARATS dialogue, Wu said Hu also echoed the KMT administration's call for making "the launch of cross-strait weekend charter flights and entry of more Chinese tourists to Taiwan" the priority agenda for SEF-ARATS talks.
According to Wu, Hu also pledged to do his utmost to have the two measures -- two of the most important campaign promises of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou -- realize in July.
An upbeat Wu further told reporters that he had stressed to Hu that Taiwan needed an international presence. "The Taiwanese people need a sense of security, respect and a place in the international community," Wu said.
On this issue, Hu was quoted as having acknowledged Taiwan people's desire and will take active steps to defuse their security concern.
After cross-strait dialogue is resumed, Hu was also quoted as having promised to discuss feasible measures for Taiwan to take part in international activities, particularly its participation in World Health Organization activities.
Wu said one of the most important conclusions of his talks with Hu was a consensus on putting aside bilateral disputes on "issues that could not be resolved in the short term" and building up mutual trust through increased goodwill exchanges.
The Wu-Hu meeting marked the first time that the top leaders of the ruling parties on both sides of the strait have ever met since Taiwan split from China in 1949 after a bitter civil war.
Traveling with a 16-member KMT delegation, Wu arrived in Nanjing Monday on the first leg of his six-day China visit. He will also visit Shanghai before ending his trip May 31,
(By Sofia Wu)
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