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Face-to-face talks needed with China: ROC envoy

ROC Central News Agency

2008-03-04 18:41:58

    New York, March 3 (CNA) The Republic of China's representative to the United States, Joseph Wu, told a New York audience Monday that Taiwan's government wants to improve mutual understanding with China, but the lack of official contact between the two sides has made negotiations difficult.

    Invited by the New York think-tank "National Committee on American Foreign Policy", Wu briefed academicians and media representatives on cross-strait relations -- the status quo and its prospects -- at the Korea Society.

    Wu said China had misinterpreted Taiwan's democratic reform as the pursuit of independence and argued that its military expansion, missile deployments, submarine fleet and air defense power not only posed a significant threat to Taiwan's security, but had also unnerved its neighbors.

    He accused China of using every means to squeeze Taiwan from the international community, even as trade relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are booming and the frequency of cultural exchanges has risen.

    Wu cited a number of instances in which China had attempted to keep or force Taiwan out of international organizations, which had provoked feelings of ill-will among Taiwan's people.

    At the same time, while negotiations on tourism exchanges and charter flights are expected to make some progress, many important issues between the two sides remained difficult to resolve because of a lack of direct contact, Wu said.

    The unsettled issues include currency exchange, investment protection, financial supervision, exemption of double taxation, import and export issues, protection of intellectual property rights, and dealing with illegal immigrants and criminals at large.

    Replying to a question on prospects for cross-strait relations after Taiwan's presidential election, Wu said the candidates of the Kuomintang and the Democratic Progressive Party did not have any major differences on the issue.

    Most people in Taiwan, he said, advocate maintaining the status quo and the candidates were therefore competing for the middle ground.

    Wu also contended that faced with the rise of China's military, Taiwan needed to count on democracy more than anything else, with a referendum the most peaceful and democratic way for the voice of Taiwan's people to be heard by the world.

    He asserted that when Chinese people are more exposed to the world and are better educated and have higher living standards, they will make more demands, creating a turning point in Chinese politics. That will create new possibilities for better relations between the two sides.

    Wu is scheduled to give a briefing on Taiwan's cross-strait policy at Yale University Tuesday. He has also been invited to speak at the Boston World Affairs Council on March 13.

(By Lillian Lin)


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