El Salvador pledges support; calls for cross-strait dialogue

The China Post staff & agencies

President Chen Shui-bian and visiting Salvadoran President Antonio Saca signed a joint communique and called for peaceful dialogue to break the political impasse and work out differences across the Taiwan Strait. In the communique forged at the Presidential Office, Chen and Saca reiterated the two governments’ determination in upholding freedom and democracy, maintaining world peace, and promoting sustainable development for all of humankind.

They expressed concern over increased terrorism, which they said endangers world peace and the global economy. The two condemned all forms of violence and atrocities as a result of global terrorism and firmly reiterated their support for the notion that all members of the international community collaborate to jointly stamp out such crimes.

The two presidents also agreed that differences across the Taiwan Strait should be reconciled based on international principles, including respecting the other side’s sovereignty, heeding the voice of the people, and avoiding the use of force as a means of solving political differences between countries.

The two sides of the Taiwan Strait should seek to resume the long-stalled dialogue to end cross-strait political deadlock by peaceful and less provocative means, the joint communique stated.

The peace talks were unilaterally suspended by Beijing in 1995 to protest the U.S. visit by the then Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui, a trip Beijing alleged was part of Taiwan’s steps towards independence.

Since pro-independence President Chen was reelected in a controversial election in March, Beijing has stressed its long-standing vow to take Taiwan by force should the island try to declare formal independence.

For his part, Saca reiterated El Salvador’s firm stance supporting the Republic of China’s goal of rejoining the United Nations and entering the World Health Organization and other international organizations and dialogue forums.

China took over Taiwan’s U.N. seat in 1971 and opposes the island’s efforts to join any international organizations.

Saca said his government will continue to bolster the traditional friendship and bilateral cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the political, economic and trade, and investment areas.

Saca urged the Taiwan industrial and commercial enterprises in general and particularly those in the textile, electronics and telecommunications industries as well as the banking, agriculture, tourism and service industries to increase their investments in El Salvador.

“The Salvadoran government will help facilitate your investment,” he reassured Taiwan businesses.

In return, President Chen said Taiwan was pleased to beef up technical aid to the government of El Salvador, render economic assistance or enter economic cooperation, and continue to support various cooperative projects which have been implemented between the two countries.

Chen said Taiwan will enter cooperation projects with El Salvador’s foreign ministry, agriculture and husbandry ministry, environmental and natural resources ministry, as well as the country’s household and youth affairs secretariats.

He also promised that he will see to it that his government organizes presentations on investment in El Salvador.

In addition, the two presidents reached a consensus on the exchange of volunteer workers between the two countries. Once an appropriate date is finalized, the two countries will forge a formal agreement on this matter in San Salvador, they claimed.

Saca later bade farewell to Chen and the ROC officials and people at the Presidential Office.

Chen, accompanied by his wife and ranking ROC officials, saw President Saca and his 27-member entourage off with full military honors, including a 21-gun salute, at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park about noon.

President Saca arrived in Taipei last Tuesday for a weeklong official visit with a 27-member entourage, whose members include Interior Minister Rene Figueroa, Agriculture and Husbandry Minister Mario Salaveria, and Environment and Natural Resources Minister Hugo Cesar Barrera.

This is Saca’s first visit to Taiwan since the former sportscaster and media magnate assumed the Salvadoran presidency in June this year.

Saca delivered a speech, entitled “The Development Prospects of the Pacific Era,” on Saturday at the 2004 Democratic Pacific Assembly presided over by Vice President Annette Lu.

During the visit, the two countries’ heads of state conferred top-level citations on each other as a gesture of their mutual respect for contributions to enhancing the bilateral ties.

El Salvador is among only 26 countries that recognize Taipei instead of Beijing as the legal government of China.