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VP-elect's China visit should benefit all: spokesman

ROC Central News Agency

2008-04-13 18:29:04

    Taipei, April 13 (CNA) Vice President-elect Vincent Siew is expected to return home bearing the fruits of his China visit, which should benefit all fellow citizens, not just his own party or any specific individual, an official said Sunday.

    Executive Yuan spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey made the remarks a day after Siew, the running mate of President-elect Ma Ying-jeou of the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT), had a historic meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of an annual global economic forum being held in the southern Chinese resort of Boao in Hainan province. "As a vice president-elect, Siew represents Taiwan. We would like to see substantial results from his current China trip. Nevertheless, any fruitful outcome should be beneficial to all compatriots, not just the KMT or the Ma-Siew ticket," Shieh said.

    The KMT once ruled all of China before fleeing to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Chinese communists, and Siew is the first Republic of China vice president-elect ever to set foot on Chinese soil since then.

    Shieh reminded Siew not to take any steps or make any statements during his stay in China that could mislead the world into perceiving his visit as the "beginning of reconciliation" between the two civil war rivals -- the KMT and the Communist Party of China.

    Since the KMT lost power to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2000, Shieh said, the KMT has often sung a duet with the Beijing government, accusing the pro-independence DPP government of being a troublemaker. "This time around, if the Chinese leaders criticize the DPP government, Siew should remain silent or just respond with his trademark smile because he is no longer a private citizen but instead is representing Taiwan," Shieh urged.

     Shieh also derided as "too self-deprecating" some media reports that interpreted Siew's seating in the front row along with the top leaders from several participating countries at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Saturday as a sign of China's "tacit recognition" of his status as Taiwan's incoming vice president. "Seating arrangements at such an occasion mean little. We should never forget that it is China that has spared no effort to suppress and belittle Taiwan in the international arena since 1971 when the People's Republic of China took over the 'China' seat in the United Nations at the expense of the R.O.C.," Shieh noted.

    The incoming KMT government should push China not to block Taiwan's bid to obtain seats in major world organizations, including the U.N. and the World Health Organization, he added.

    Siew left for Boao Friday to attend the annual Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in his capacity as chairman of the private Taipei-based Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation. The three-day forum brought together some 2,000 dignitaries from major countries around the world, including political leaders, academics and business executives, to discuss matters related to Asia regional economic integration and cooperation.

    Saturday's Siew-Hu meeting was the highest-level political contact across the Taiwan Strait in nearly 60 decades. It was also widely seen as a watershed in the long-stalled cross-strait relations.

    Despite a thaw in the early 1990s, cross-strait engagements have sunk to a low ebb since 1999 when then-President Lee Teng-hui declared cross-strait ties as special state-to-state relations. Because of Beijing's unwillingness to negotiate with the pro-independence DPP administration, cross-strait ties have remained deep-frozen over the past eight years.

    Against this backdrop, Vice President Annette Lu said Sunday she would recognize Siew's contribution if his historic meeting with Hu could truly help defuse cross-strait tensions and usher in a new era of peaceful cross-strait development and co-existence.

    On Siew's proposal to Hu that the two sides shelve disputes with pragmatism and work together to create a win-win scenario, Lu said it is "easier said than done" and that the success of such an initiative depends on China's sincerity to take concrete action. "We should keep close watch on the development," Lu said, adding that she hopes the incoming KMT government would listen to different opinions from various quarters, including political parties, in dealing with cross-strait affairs.

(By Sofia Wu)

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