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Lien plugs FTA, promises closer ties with Beijing

Taipei Times

Lien plugs FTA, promises closer ties with Beijing

COMMON MARKET?: At the end of his China tour, Lien Chan praised the Chinese economy and arranged for more party to party communication

By Caroline Hong


3 May 2005

Capping off his tour of China, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan yesterday said he had encouraged Beijing to support a free-trade agreement (FTA) between Taiwan and ASEAN, while elaborating on the role of cross-party communications between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party.

Addressing China-based Taiwanese businesspeople over lunch in Shanghai yesterday, Lien said he had encouraged Chinese President Hu Jintao on Friday to give his blessing to Taiwan signing an FTA with ASEAN.

ASEAN will soon emerge as one of the largest markets in the world and Taiwan must not let opportunities slip out of its grasp during this critical period, Lien said.

Lien also emphasized the importance of future economic cooperation between Taiwan and China in light of China’s rapid economic growth.

The direction of economic cooperation between China and Taiwan called for the establishment of a "common market" between the two countries, Lien said. He added that Hu promised to facilitate economic and trade proposals formulated during KMT Vice Chairman Chiang Pin-kun’s visit to China earlier this year.

During a press conference in Shanghai, Lien also elaborated on the agreement to open a cross-party communication channel.

KMT Secretary-General Lin Feng-cheng and Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office director Chen Yunlin would be in charge of the Taiwanese and Chinese sides respectively, Lien said.

Besides increasing communication between both parties, the channel would plan forums on cross-strait peace and on economic issues.

Lien spent a busy day in Shanghai yesterday, also meeting with top Chinese negotiator Wang Daohan, the chairman of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, in the morning.

At a press conference held after Lien’s private meeting with Wang, KMT spokesman Chang Jung-kung said Wang had expressed his support for the so-called "1992 consensus" while affirming the five-point agreement on cross-strait relations Lien hammered out with Hu on Friday.

Lien praised Wang as a historical figure in cross-strait relations whom he respected, and thanked Wang for his contributions. He also reminisced with Wang over the late Straits Exchange Foundation head Koo Chen-fu).

Wang met with Koo, Taiwan’s top negotiator with China, in an official capacity on two occasions. The first Koo-Wang talks in April 1993 marked the first rendezvous of government-authorized negotiators from China and Taiwan in nearly 50 years.

Koo died aged 88 in March.

During the meeting, Lien presented Wang with a painting by Koo that Koo’s widow, Cecilia Koo, had asked to be passed on to Wang.