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2004-03-21 17:27:30

    Taipei, March 21 (CNA) The key tone of Taiwan's mainland China policy is expected to remain unchanged over the next four years with President Chen Shui-bian continuing to lead the country, a Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said Sunday.

    Chen Ming-tong, vice chairman of the Cabinet-level MAC, said the country's mainland policies over the next four years will still mainly feature reconciliation, cooperation, peace and building mutual trust through communication.

    Chen made the remarks during a forum held at the Central News Agency on Taiwan's democratization and cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

    He said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) -ruled government has carried out its mainland policy over the past four years based on a white paper on mainland policy authored by a group of DPP legislators and MAC officials, including Chen himself, in 2000.

    According to the white paper, consolidating a consensus on Taiwan's status is the first step in efficient handling of cross-strait relations, followed by building a stable interaction mechanism across the strait and promoting cross-strait economic and trade cooperation, Chen said.

    In line with these three key principles, the government has convened meetings with representatives from across the political spectrum and has decided that the Republic of China is a sovereign state that does not belong to the People's Republic of China and that neither side represents the other, Chen noted.

    From the just-concluded presidential election, Chen said, it is evident that a Taiwan-centric democratic concept has been successfully nurtured, a concept reflecting that the ROC is Taiwan and Taiwan is the ROC, and a concept that was fully demonstrated during the islandwide "human chain" rally held Feb. 28.

    On building a stable interaction mechanism across the strait, he added that before the two sides reach any consensus on an ultimate resolution, there should be an interim arrangement, including confidence-building mechanisms (CBM's) and mutual recognition of judicial judgement rights.

    To consolidate the people's consensus on building a stable interaction mechanism with the mainland, Chen said, President Chen Shui-bian proposed a question for the people to answer during the first-ever nationwide referendum held Saturday on whether the government should negotiate with Beijing for the establishment of an interaction mechanism to promote peace across the Taiwan Strait.

    Chen lamented, however, that the referendum failed to pass the threshold to be considered valid due to procedural controversies, although 90 percent of the people who cast their referendum votes said "yes" to the question.

(By Deborah Kuo)


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