Time is not ripe for meeting between Ma, Hu: Premier


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Premier Wu Den-yih reiterated yesterday that the time was not ripe for a meeting between the leaders of Taiwan and China, despite their warming ties.

Before such a meeting could be held, Wu said, a stronger consensus on the issue needed to be built in Taiwan, and higher levels of goodwill and mutual trust developed between the two sides.

“At present, we do not see an opportunity (for such a meeting),” he said while receiving a delegation of the New York-based Committee of 100, which was in Taiwan to attend the 8th Global Views Business Forum held Oct. 18-19 in Taipei.

Wu was apparently responding to a proposal raised at the forum by ROC Red Cross Society President Chen Charng-ven who said the annual event could be a venue for a meeting between President Ma Ying jeou and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao.

Chen suggested that Ma and Hu could both be invited to the 2011 or 2012 forums, to be held in Beijing and Shanghai, where they could then meet each other.

According to Wu, improved relations across the Taiwan Strait were a good sign for ethnic Chinese around the world, and Taiwan’s freedom, democracy and rule of law were providing an ideal model for China.

He likened economic development and democratization to a person’s two legs, which should grow at an equal pace to achieve a balanced development.

Wu said he believed the Chinese leadership was well aware it could not resist the trends of political reform and opening up, which was the reason Hu had put forward the goal of constructing a “harmonious society” and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had recently called for political reform. During the reception, Wu urged members of the Committee of 100 to help lobby the U.S. government to approve Taiwan’s request to buy F-16 C/D fighters, saying that such arms procurement was necessary for Taiwan to maintain its self-defense capabilities.

The Committee of 100, composed of prominent Chinese Americans, is a group concerned with issues in Sino-American relations.