PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE DENIES REPORT OF CONTACT WITH CHINA
Central News Agency
Taipei, June 11 (CNA) A Presidential Office spokesman denied Saturday a media report that some Beijing messengers have offered to help establish direct contact between Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Chen Shui-bian to pave the way for a cross-Taiwan Strait summit.
Dismissing the report as mere speculation, Chen Wen-tzung, director of the Presidential Office's Department of Public Affairs, said the Presidential Office has never received any such information and has no plan to assign any presidential aides for the mission.
Chen pointed out that President Chen has mentioned on many occasions that cross-strait differences must be resolved through dialogue and that a government-to-government format is inevitable in conducting such talks.
The president welcomes a meeting with Hu as long as it is not subject to any preconditions and believes cross-strait talks must be based on a national consensus and the best interests of the Taiwan people, Chen said.
Also, Chen said the Hong Kong visit by Presidential Office official Chao Lin from May 18-20 was only a private trip.
According to the report, the Beijing messengers have proposed that contact be established through presidential aides of both sides, with the possible choices being Hu's premier aide, Ling Jihua, and Chen's close aide, Ma Yung-cheng.
The report said that Chao might have been assigned with the mission of meeting with some Beijing representatives during his Hong Kong visit.
Also commenting on the report, William C.T. Lai, a whip of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party legislative caucus, urged the media to stop circulating rumors that are not based on facts.
Lai noted that President Chen has said he is not afraid to negotiate with China provided that Taiwan's sovereignty, democracy and peace are secured and that he is willing to meet Hu in a third country.
But this scenario will only be possible through the mediation of the international community, and the visits to China by opposition Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan and opposition People First Party Chairman James Soong have proven futile in changing Beijing's mind concerning its desire to annex Taiwan, he added.
(By Y.F. Low)
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