Possible Lien Chan visit hits troubled waters
Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan yesterday pledged to push ahead with his planned visit to the mainland despite attempts by Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to stop the trip.
Taiwanese media quoted Lien as saying the government has no right to block his planned trip to improve relations with the mainland.
Taiwan "president" Chen Shui-bian of the pro-independence DPP urged Lien on Saturday to meet him before going to the mainland, saying the government will be willing to authorize the opposition leader to meet mainland leaders.
"The visit by the KMT to the mainland is to open the door to peace through party-to-party communication. At this stage, it does not need the government's authorization or require government approval," Lien said in a statement.
"However, if it involves exer-cising government power, we will communicate with relevant government agencies through appro-priate channels and methods."
The new development comes just days after the KMT made its first official visit to the mainland in 56 years between March 28 and April 1.
The five-day trip, widely hailed as an "ice-breaking trip," marked the opening of a party-to-party dialogue between the KMT and the Communist Party of China.
Headed by Vice-Chairman Chiang Pin-kung, the 34-member KMT delegation focused on strengthening cross-Straits economic and trade ties while paying respects to KMT martyrs and party founder Sun Yat-sen to recall the past.
The KMT group and related mainland departments reached consensus on a wide range of economic topics to enhance economic co-operation.
But Chen's administration has launched an investigation into whether Chiang broke the law during the visit.
KMT Secretary-General Lin Feng-cheng said Lien was open to meeting Chen, but accused the Taiwan leader of being insincere.
"Sincerity is the most important thing. It's not very appropriate to issue such an invitation through the media," Lin told a news conference.
At the weekend, Chen expressed a desire through the media to meet Lien, whose mainland trip has yet to be timetabled.
In the wake of Chiang's visit, the DPP administration has taken a series of moves to cool the "mainland fever" on the island.
On April 5, Chen ordered an overall review of cross-Straits exchanges, stressing the most important aspect of "effective management" in opening up to the mainland.
The Taiwan authorities have also halted plans to relax their control on high-tech and chipmaking investments on the mainland while pressing local farmers to stop promoting fruit exports across the Straits.
(China Daily 04/12/2005 page1)