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Says Conditions Not Ripe for Taiwan Talks
(Jan 31, 2002)
said on Wednesday conditions are not right to resume talks
with arch rival Taiwan despite an easing of policy toward
the island's pro-independence ruling Democratic Progressive
Party (DPP). "I don't
think there are conditions, including this Spring," Zhang
told reporters when asked if there was a chance that talks,
stalled since 1999, could start up again soon. The spokesman
of the Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Mingqing, said there would
be no relaxation of Beijing's stance of no contact with Chen's
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) unless it renounced its
pro-independence charter and recognized the one China principle.
week, Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen signalled a softer
line toward Taiwan saying only a small number of members of
Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's DPP were separatists.
Beijing previously had shunned the DPP
and Chen, elected in 2000, as separatists, and remains wary
of the DPP leadership. Qian also
invited DPP members to visit the mainland in an "appropriate
status" and called for closer economic ties and the establishment
of an "economic cooperation mechanism" now that
both had joined the World Trade Organisation.
is one of the mainland's biggest investors and Beijing has
said it is in favour of establishing the so-called "three
links" of direct trade, transport and mail now largely
barred by Taiwan. Zhang said
the idea behind the mechanism for boosting economic cooperation
was "very broad". "The
main idea is that as long as it benefits cross-straits trade,
development and the 'three links', we support it," he
said, adding that businessmen, economists and academics from
both sides of the Taiwan Straits would be consulted.
said Qian's invitation to the majority of DPP members to come
to China excluded Chen, who has offered to visit, and his
outspoken deputy Annette Lu. "It's impossible,"
Zhang said when asked if they could come to the mainland.
"They don't belong to the majority
group of the DPP. They are part of the minority segment,"
of Rift Emerge over Qian Speech
(Taipei Times, Jan. 30, 2002)
speech by Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen last week at a
forum marking the anniversary of "Jiang's eight points"
has triggered a power struggle in Beijing. Two days
after the Jan. 24 speech -- in which Qian said China would
be open to visits by DPP members -- a message appeared on
the Internet, saying Chinese President Jiang Zemin fell out
with his vice president and heir apparent Hu Jintao less than
72 hours after Hu attended the forum.
to the message, Jiang said Hu and Qian were "messing
same source also said the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP)
propaganda department urgently summoned the heads of the People's
Daily, the Xinhua News Agency and China News Services on Saturday
night. The propaganda department reportedly ordered
the news agencies to stop reporting on Qian's remarks and
said no reports could be filed on the reaction to the speech
in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
the day after the speech, Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po and the US-based
Qiaobao, both of which are the CCP's overseas mouthpieces,
covered Qian's speech on the front page above the fold, with
headlines such as "Beijing: DPP members welcomed to visit
the mainland" and "Qian Qichen shouts directly to
the same day, the Wen Wei Po reported that an official from
a "department concerned" had criticized overseas
media for fabricating news, saying "From beginning to
end, Vice President Hu Jintao did not speak at the forum"
commemorating "Jiang's eight points." By "fabrication"
the official was referring to quotes in which Hu reportedly
said, "Taiwan's localization is not equivalent to Taiwan
independence, neither is the DPP equivalent to Taiwan independence."
the official did not clarify whether Hu made similar statements
on any other occasion. One can also find traces of a power
struggle by observing the People's Daily, the newspaper of
the CCP headquarters. On the day after the vice premier's
speech, the newspaper ran a front-page report on the forum,
as well as the entire text of Qian's remarks. But the next
day the paper's report on the commemorations of "Jiang's
eight points" did not mention the vice premier's remarks
Sunday, the People's Daily ran an article commemorating the
anniversary of "Jiang's eight points." The article
made no mention of Qian's comments. But it's impossible to
think that Jiang had no prior knowledge of Qian's important
speech. Jiang's confidante, Zeng Qinghong, presided over the
forum. One can conclude that Jiang used the occasion to stir
up trouble and attack Hu, who has begun to get involved in
Taiwan-related matters. Also, Jiang, by opposing Qian's remarks,
could be playing up to the military by showing a hardline
attitude against Taiwan, as a part of efforts to keep the
chairman's position in the Central Military Commission and
shut out Hu when he becomes China's president.
welcomes Beijing's remarks (Taipei Times, Jan 29, 2002)
Chen Shui-bian yesterday reacted positively to recent remarks
by Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen, saying they demonstrated
Beijing's understanding of the political reality in Taiwan.
"We welcome and appreciate any statement or measure that
will be helpful in stabilizing and improving cross-strait
relations," Chen said at a meeting with Richard Bush,
the chairman of the America Institute in Taiwan, the US de
facto embassy in Taiwan.
stressed that the democratic choices of Taiwan's 23 million
people should be respected and accepted by the international
community. "Communist China has squarely faced the results
of Taiwan's legislative elections on Dec. 1 and respects and
recognizes the political reality," Chen said.
emerged as the largest party in the Legislative Yuan for the
first time following the polls.
statement is the first official reaction to the remarks Qian
made Thursday, in which he said Beijing welcomed DPP members
to visit China and that most members of the party were not
stubborn pro-independence activists.
short of describing the gesture by Qian as "friendly,"
but said the two sides of the Strait should engage in "active
cooperation" and urged China's leaders to show goodwill
and sincerity in dealing with the country. "Dialogue
between both sides' leaders should be more about economics
and less about politics, involve more contacts to reduce misunderstanding,
and be based on trust instead of suppression," he said.
he hoped a visit to China by US President George W. Bush next
month would benefit relations between Taiwan and China. "I
believe President Bush will not do anything harmful to the
interests of the Taiwanese people," he told Richard Bush,
adding he hoped Washington would play a role as a "stabilizer,
balancer and promoter" of cross-strait ties.
is a huge difference between the US `one China' policy and
Communist China's `one China' principle," Chen said.
"The US government expects that the cross-strait relationship
can be resolved through peaceful means, which is very different
to peaceful reunification," the president added.
Bush, the top US envoy to Taiwan, has already reassured the
Chen administration that the US president will not sacrifice
Taiwan's interests during his trip to China. Beijing's offer
to hold unification talks under the "one China"
ramework with the DPP has been rejected by Chen, who has stressed
the country's independent sovereignty.
chief assures Taiwan (Taipei Times, Jan 29, 2002)
analysts termed a forceful show of support for Taipei, Washington's
top envoy to Taiwan Richard Bush yesterday sided with the
Taiwanese government in its handling of the cross-strait impasse.
does not seem constructive for one side to set pre-conditions
for a resumption of dialogue that the other side even suspects
would be tantamount to conceding a fundamental issue before
discussion begins," said Bush, chairman and managing
director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) during
a talk at National Chengchi University yesterday.
and Taiwan held historic talks in Singapore in April 1993
between leaders of two quasi-official bodies governing cross-strait
relations. But Beijing suspended talks in 1995 after then
president Lee Teng-hui's ( 李登輝
) trip to the US, a move which China believes was to promote
has set the so-called "one China" principle as a
precondition for the resumption of cross-strait talks. But
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) from the
pro-independence DPP, has said Beijing's "one China"
principle is too vague, refusing to accept it as a precondition
attending Bush's talk deemed his statement as a forceful show
of support for Chen's reluctance to accept Beijing's preconditions.
"This is the strongest statement yet from the US side,
as far as I can see, to put the blame on Beijing for the impasse
in cross-strait talks," Joseph Wu (吳釗燮),
a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations
at National Chengchi University, told the Taipei Times.
chief also assured his audience that US President George W.
Bush's visit to Beijing next month would not sacrifice Taiwan's
interests. "The purpose of the trip would be to consolidate
our cooperation with China on areas where cooperation is possible,
including countering terrorism. But I think there will also
be a frank discussion on issues we disagree ... I don't think
Taiwan's interests are going to be sacrificed in any way,"
Bush said. He also said it's premature to predict whether
Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen's ( 錢其琛
) softer tones toward Taiwan would culminate in a resumption
of cross-strait talks.
US government welcomes any step that might lead to a reduction
in cross-strait tensions. But each side of the Strait has
to evaluate any proposals for resuming cross-strait dialogue.
It's up to the two sides to decide that," Bush said.
think it's premature to make any predictions," Bush said
when assessing prospects for resumption of cross-strait talks
in the wake of Qian's remarks during a question and answer
session after his talk.
in his talk on Taiwan-US ties, Bush described relations between
the two sides as "good and getting better," adding:
"I think one can argue that our ties are stronger now
than at any time in the last fifty years." He added that
the US would not sacrifice Taiwan's interests for the sake
of having a better relationship with China -- even in the
wake of Beijing-Washington cooperation in countering terrorism.
expressed the US' gratitude for Taiwan's support in the wake
of the Sept. 11 attacks, in terms of financial donations,
measures adopted to heighten the protection of Americans in
Taiwan and security at Taiwan's ports of entry, as well as
monitoring financial flows, among others.
is in times of crisis that we learn who our true friends are.
And the US knew from the beginning of this particular crisis
where Taiwan stood," he said.
Eases Stance on Taiwan:
Moves Aimed at Improving Ties With U.S. Ahead of Bush
(Washington Post, Jan. 24, 2002)
announced a significant softening of its policy toward Taiwan
today, released another prisoner with U.S. ties, and pledged
$150 million to the effort to rebuild Afghanistan – moves
aimed at underscoring its desire for good ties with Washington
before President Bush visits next month.
scheduled summit between President Bush and China's President
Jiang Zemin in Beijing on Feb. 21-22 is expected to be short
on concrete announcements and long on politics. But China
is working hard to create a welcoming atmosphere for Bush,
who was scheduled to travel to Beijing in October but postponed
his trip because of the war in Afghanistan.
most significant of today's developments was a statement by
Qian Qichen, China's top foreign policy official, welcoming
members of Taiwan's governing Democratic Progressive Party
to visit China and calling for renewed dialogue and stronger
economic ties across the Taiwan Strait.
a statement quoted by the official New China News Agency and
state-run radio, Qian also said that only a small number of
the Democratic Progressive Party's members were separatists
– a major change in China's stated view of the party, whose
platform lists independence from China as a goal. "We
believe there is a distinction between the vast majority of
Democratic Progressive Party members and a very small number
of stubborn Taiwan independence activists," state radio
quoted Qian as saying. "We invite them to tour and visit
in an appropriate status to promote understanding."
United States has been pressing China to open contacts with
the Democratic Progressive Party. China has shunned the party
since March 2000 when its candidate Chen Shui-bian was the
first opposition leader elected president in Taiwan's history.
was done with a eye to Taipei and an eye toward Washington,"
said a Chinese security official, referring to today's announcement.
"We are showing good faith both to Taiwan and the United
States." China maintains that Taiwan is part of China
and has threatened to attack the island of 23 million people
if it declares independence. But since Chen's victory two
years ago, China has played down the threats and instead courted
Chen's rivals in the Nationalist Party that governed Taiwan
for nearly five decades.
policy lasted until December when Chen's party routed the
Nationalists in parliamentary elections. Qian's statement
today was tantamount to an acknowledgment of the DPP's success,
Western diplomats and Chinese security experts said. "We
understand now that we have got to deal with the Democratic
Progressive Party," said one Chinese expert on Taiwan.
"This is a major step forward." Qian also stressed
that the recent entry of both China and Taiwan into the World
Trade Organization provided new opportunities to develop bilateral
trade relations, since there was now a mechanism for settling
trade disputes between them. "Political differences should
not interfere with trade exchange and man-made obstacles which
limit economic cooperation should be removed as soon as possible,"
Qian said. "We are willing to listen to the views and
recommendations from Taiwan people from all walks of life
about the establishment of a cooperation mechanism to bring
cross-strait economic ties closer."
Qian reiterated that contacts with Taiwan could occur only
if Taiwan accepted the "one China" principle – which
Chen's government has not. Beijing defines the principle as
meaning that Taiwan and China belong to a single country.
Beijing used to define it as meaning Taiwan was just a province
of China, but has modified that view in recent years to give
Taiwan more of an equal standing with China.
Welcomes Beijing's Decision to Invite Govt to Visit (Agence
France Presse, Jan. 25, 2002)
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) welcomed Beijing's move
of opening contacts with the pro-independence party. "We
think this is a demonstration of goodwill and we would be
happy to see its progress," DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh
told reporters. "It means that the People's Republic
of China has started to understand Taiwan's political situation."
It also indicated that the DPP had made the right move by
adopting a "centre" China policy -- which meant
the ruling party did not support either reunification or independence,
Ming-tung, vice chairman of the island's Mainland Affairs
Council, said: "We are pleased to see the other side
sending messages which are helpful in facilitating cross-strait
relations. "The government takes the messages seriously
and will react in an appropriate time after analysing the
latest information," he said.