Mainland cross-strait negotiator ready to visit Taiwan any time

The China Post staff

Mainland China’s top cross-strait negotiator Wang Daohan said in Shanghai yesterday that he is ready to visit Taiwan anytime and is willing to meet both President Chen Shui-bian and former President Lee Teng-hui in Taipei to exchange views. Wang, chairman of Beijing’s Association of Relations Across Taiwan Strait (ARATS), made the remarks at a meeting with a group of Taiwan visitors led by Hsu Hsin-liang, incumbent senior presidential advisor and former chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The delegation, made up of members of the Mountain Association, a nonpartisan political forum, is currently visiting mainland officials to push for the opening of direct trade, transport and postal services. Hsu said that some people in Taiwan questioned the so-called “1992 consensus” talks between Wang and Chairman Koo Chen-Fu of Taipei’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), and added that he would like to have a personal clarification from Wang on the issue. Wang stressed that the consensus was reached under the premise of the “one China” principle. He said he would have visited Taiwan in 1998 if former President Lee hadn’t brought up the new “state-to-state relations” concerning ties between Taipei and Beijing. But Wang said he is now ready to pay a visit to Taiwan anytime under the same premise, even though many key officials from 1992 of the two organizations are gone. He expressed the hope that ARATS and the SEF will resume formal negotiations soon.

Wang told the visitors that the ruling party’s attitude is very important to the “three direct links.” However, the opposition of the DPP to the “one China” principle was stronger than anticipated. He said the reopening of talks hinges on the attitude of President Chen.

He said that Chen does not recognize the “one China” principle but at the same time wants to conduct the government-to-government talks. This is tantamount to creating “two Chinas.” Wang pointed out that Chen himself said that his family came from Fujian Province, yet he has failed to recognize one-China principles. The mainland still hopes Chen will change his attitude to reopen the doors to talks, he said. Chiao Jen-ho, deputy director of the delegation, sent Wang regards from SEF Chairman Koo, who is currently recuperating from an illness in the U.S. Chiao said that both the ARATS and the SEF are actually private organizations.

Chiao, who formerly served as vice chairman of the Cabinet-level policymaking Mainland Affairs Council and vice chairman of the SEF, said he hopes one day that one side will extend friendship to the other side. Wang concluded by saying he advocates negotiation between private organizations before official agencies.