Elmer Fung claims to be secret envoy of president Chen Shui-bian

The China Post staff

A New Party lawmaker yesterday claimed that he had acted as President Chen Shui-bian’s secret envoy to mainland China, but the Presidential Office denied such a mission had ever existed. Elmer Fung said Deputy Presidential Secretary-General Chen Che-nan had met with him 12 times since December, asking him to carry the president’s message across the strait concerning the new administration’s mainland policy. The New Party heavyweight, who has been most active seeking mainland connections, said President Chen had met with him in person once. Fung said the president wanted him to tell Beijing leaders that the new government would “with some hesitation” convene the National Unification Council, and accept both the “one China principle” and the “1992 cross-strait consensus.” He said he had travelled to mainland China a few times since then to act as a secret envoy, meeting with top Beijing leaders including Vice Premier Qian Qichen, paving the way for the opening of the “three links.” President Chen’s earlier public promise that the “three links” would be inaugurated “surprisingly fast” was a result of the friendly atmosphere already built up across the strait, according to Fung. Both sides had reached a tacit agreement that no flags would be hoisted on ships sailing between Taiwan and the mainland in an attempt to solve the sticky political issues plaguing the three links, he said. But Fung said his mission ended abruptly after President Chen in March told a meeting of pro-independence leaders that his “integration theory” was an extension of the “two states theory” advocated by former President Lee Teng-hui. Beijing sees the two-states theory as a thin disguise of the island’s independence movement. Chen has proposed “integration” as an alternative to Taiwan-mainland unification, but this new line of thinking, just like his other attempts to reopen cross-strait dialogue, has also come to an impasse. Chen has been unable to win trust in Beijing, as he has sidelined the National Unification Council, an advisory body symbolic of the island’s course. Fung said the deputy presidential secretary general had tried to convince him that “integration” was just another name for unification. He said he had tape-recordings of his conversations with Chen Che-nan to prove his revelations. But the Presidential Office, expressing shock and disbelief, dismissed Fung’s story. Presidential Secretary-General Yu Shyi-kun said the president did meet with the New Party lawmaker on Dec. 15, but never asked him to act as a secret envoy. Chen Che-nan, who is currently in Vietnam on a business trip, had his aides confirm that his 12 meetings with Fung had nothing to do with any secret missions. Chen said that he had only talked with Fung, the convener of the legislative laws committee, to seek support for the Presidential Office’s budget.

He stressed that it was in fact Fung who asked to arrange all meetings. The deputy chief aide said he hoped Fung would make public the tape-recordings if he indeed had them.

The president, currently on a Latin American state visit, did not respond to Fung’s story. But DPP Secretary-General Wu Nai-jen said it was impossible for the president to trust Fung with such sensitive matters. “President Chen would not put that kind of trust even in me. How could it be Elmer Fung?” Wu was quoted by the United Evening News as saying. Wu said Fung must have thought that everybody was foolish enough to believe his story.

In the Legislative Yuan, DPP Legislator Cho Jung-tai berated Fung as totally submitting himself to Beijing.