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2004-03-21 19:22:30

    Taipei, March 21 (CNA) Beijing should face and accept the increasing Taiwan-centric consciousness in Taiwan society, a lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Sunday.

    Speaking at a forum hosted by CNA on Taiwan's democratization and cross-Taiwan Strait relations, Kuo Jeng-liang said that the development of Taiwan-centric consciousness has three stages, with its core concept moving from political power, sovereignty and national identity.

    Noting that the development has prompted a reshuffle of domestic political forces, Kuo said that Beijing should face in a positive manner Taiwan's changing internal situation and accept that the nature of its politics has changed.

    For President Chen Shui-bian, who won re-election a day earlier for another four-year term, Kuo said that dealing with the so-called three direct cross-strait links -- trade, transportation and postal services -- will be the most imminent problem for his administration.

    Chao Chien-min, a professor with the Sun Yat-sen Graduate Institute of Social Science and Humanities of National Chengchi University, shared Kuo's view, saying that Taiwan-centric consciousness has reached an unprecedented height.

    However, Chao noted, Taiwan-centric consciousness is not tantamount to Taiwan independence, but instead gives priority to Taiwan's insterests. The two sides of the Taiwan Strait will spend more time on crisis management rather than creating a sound framework for cross-strait interaction, he predicted.

    The three direct links, writing a new constitution by 2006 and regaining the trust of the United States will also be major challenges for Chen's administration, Chao went on.

    Chen Shei-saint, a legislator of the opposition Kuomintang, said that a middle-way force for dealing with cross-strait issues is emerging in Taiwan in light of the fact that both the ruling and opposition camps has been moving toward the center in handling cross-strait relations.

    Following President Chen's re-election, Beijing should set aside the prerequisite of its "one China" principle if it wishes to increase cross-strait exchanges, he suggested.

(By Huang Kwang-chun)


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