Hu-Chen meeting 'should be on own soil'
Beijing yesterday rejected Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's call for unconditional talks with President Hu Jintao at a neutral location, saying any such talks should be held on "our own soil."
He also stressed that any possible Hu-Chen meeting should be based on the one-China principle.
The comments, made at a regular press conference, were in response to Chen's recent suggestion that talks with Hu could take place in a third place, preferably the United States. Chen also insisted there be no preconditions for talks.
Li said the mainland is willing to talk with any Taiwanese political party or representative as long as they uphold the one-China principle that both the mainland and Taiwan are part of China.
Since taking office in May 2000, Chen, from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, has refused to embrace the one-China principle. Beijing, however, has set the principle as a precondition for the resumption of bilateral negotiations.
The back-to-back visits to the mainland by Taiwan opposition Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan and People First Party Chairman James Soong in late April and early May have given fresh impetus for the resumption of talks between the two sides.
Following meetings between Hu and the two Taiwan opposition leaders, Chen said several times he was looking forward to a meeting with Hu.
Even the radical Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) said on Tuesday that the party is contemplating an exchange with the Communist Party of China (CPC) on a party-to-party basis. As Taiwan's most vociferous pro-independence political party, the TSU advocates formal independence for the island.
But Lee Hsien-jen, director of the TSU's department of policy studies, has recently proposed a review of the party's policies and attitudes towards the mainland.
In response to the new development, Li suggested the TSU abandon its pro-independence stance and accept the one-China principle before contacting the CPC.
The spokesman also announced that Taiwan's small opposition New Party will send a delegation to visit the mainland from July 6 to 13.
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the victory of China's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, the group, led by party chairman Yok Mu-ming, is scheduled to visit Guangzhou, Nanjing, Dalian and Beijing.
On the economic front, He Shizhong, director of the Economic Bureau of the Taiwan Affairs Office, said that by the end of May the mainland had approved 65,568 Taiwanese-funded projects. They involved contracted investment of US$82.76 billion and actual investment of US$40.58 billion.
By the end of May, indirect cross-Straits trade volume had amounted to US$438.18 billion, with Taiwanese exports to the mainland reaching US$366.67 billion.
At present, the mainland is Taiwan's biggest export market and its largest source of trade surplus.
At the news conference, Tang Wei, deputy director of the Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Department of the Ministry of Commerce, suggested fishery groups across the Taiwan Straits hold talks on resuming fishing labour co-operation.
Beijing suspended co-operation in 2001 because of violations of mainland fishermen's labour rights by Taiwanese employers.
(China Daily 06/30/2005 page1)