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2004-03-16 17:25:55

    Taipei, March 16 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian will address the cross-Taiwan Strait political deadlock in a wiser and more pragmatic manner if re-elected, Chen's top aide said Tuesday.

    It is believed that the leadership in Beijing will also face the cross-strait issue differently after the March 20 presidential election, said Chiou I-jen, secretary-general of the Presidential Office and executive director of Chen's campaign headquarters.

    Chiou made the remarks in response to a question raised by foreign media at a government-sponsored news conference designed to brief international media about the presidential election and an accompanying referendum to be held March 20.

    On the question as to how President Chen will build mutual trust with the Beijing leadership after he is re-elected, Chiou said he does not think that President Chen and the Beijing leaders can build a relationship of mutual trust in the near future.

    Chiou added, however, that it is believed that both the Beijing leadership and President Chen will face the cross-strait issue wisely and pragmatically.

    Noting that pragmatism is more needed to solve the thorny cross-strait issue than the concept of trust, Chiou said President Chen will see to it, if re-elected, that a working group is established to build a cross-strait peace and stability framework, which will eventually become a regular mechanism to handle and oversee all cross-strait exchanges and affairs.

    To begin with, Chiou added, the cross-strait peace and stability framework can start from cultural and economic affairs in instances where the two sides are unable to address political differences.

    Chiou also stressed that political differences may be challenging to the development of cross-strait relations, but they should not be reasons for barring both sides from engaging in interactions.

    Chen's top campaign aide also lamented that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has long mistakenly been regarded as pro-independence and being half-hearted in facilitating cross-strait relations.

    As a matter of fact, he said, the DPP has put forward more than 20 policies over the past four years to facilitate the development of cross-strait relations, including helping aged military veterans to return to their mainland Chinese homelands for visits or to settle, changing the "no haste, be patient" policy toward mainland China and putting into force the "mini three links."

(By Deborah Kuo)


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