Lien's visit poised to improve exchanges
Beijing said yesterday it expects Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan's planned mainland visit to help improve cross-Straits ties despite Taiwan authorities setting up hurdles to block bilateral exchanges.
"We believe Chairman Lien's visit will be conducive to improving and developing cross-Straits relations," said Li Weiyi, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.
Beijing has so far refused to talk with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which enshrines "independence" in its party platform and rejects the one-China principle that both Taiwan and the mainland belong to one and the same China.
Jia Qinglin, a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, officially invited Lien to visit the mainland on March 31.
Lien accepted the invitation, which came during the KMT's first official mainland visit in 56 years between March 28 and April 1. But he has yet to timetable his visit.
Li stressed that the mainland is willing to negotiate with any Taiwanese parties and organizations which uphold the "1992 consensus" and oppose Taiwan "independence."
The "1992 consensus" refers to an informal agreement which commits both sides of the Straits to adhering to the one-China principle.
"As we have repeatedly said, the DPP chairman is welcome to visit the mainland as long as the party abandons its pro-independence platform and stops its secessionist activities," Li told reporters.
But the spokesman went on to accuse the DPP administration of "turning the clock back" by imposing more restrictions on cross-Straits economic and cultural exchanges in the wake of the historic KMT visit.
"Setting up hurdles to bilateral exchanges will hurt the immediate interests of the Taiwanese people and goes against the common aspiration of people across the Straits," he said.
Over the past two weeks, Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian and his DPP administration have taken a series of measures to limit cross-Straits exchanges.
On April 5, Taipei announced an overall review of cross-Straits exchanges.
On April 10, the "Mainland Affairs Council" temporarily banned journalists from the Xinhua News Agency and People's Daily from covering news on the island.
The Taiwan authorities also halted plans to relax their control on high-tech and chip-making investments on the mainland while forcing local farmers to stop promoting fruit exports to the mainland.
The island's prosecutors are probing into whether the 34-member KMT delegation headed by Vice-Chairman Chiang Pin-kung broke the law during their mainland visit.
The KMT group reached consensus with mainland departments on a wide range of topics to strengthen economic co-operation between Taiwan and the mainland.
At the news conference, Li urged the Taiwan authorities to cancel unreasonable obstacles and correct their erroneous ways as soon as possible.
As a sign of the mainland's sincerity in establishing stronger cross-Straits economic ties, industry officials held a fruit-tasting promotion in Beijing yesterday to promote the sale of Taiwanese fruit on the mainland.
He Shizhong, director of the Economic Bureau of the Taiwan Affairs Office, said the mainland has been taking positive steps to encourage cross-Straits agricultural co-operation and expand sales of Taiwan agricultural products.
So far, Taiwanese investors have funded more than 5,000 agricultural enterprises on the mainland, with a total investment of US$4 billion.
(China Daily 04/14/2005 page1)