Top envoy seeks cross-strait talks

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 December, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 December, 2001, 12:00am

Beijing's chief cross-strait negotiator yesterday called for a resumption of reunification talks with Taiwan as soon as possible, the China News Service reported.

Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits chairman Wang Daohan said it was time for Beijing and Taiwan to resume the long-stalled dialogue based upon the 'one China' consensus reached in 1992.

Mr Wang made the remarks in a written statement to mark the 10th anniversary of Arats, Beijing's intermediary body responsible for talks with Taiwan.

He said the accession of the mainland and Taiwan to the World Trade Organisation provided better opportunities to expand trade and investment links.

'Today, faced with new opportunities and challenges, [authorities] across the Taiwan Strait should not lose this valuable, historic opportunity,' Mr Wang said.

Although Mr Wang's remarks contained no initiatives, they apparently were aimed at putting more pressure on Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian and his Government.

Beijing has refused to open talks with Taipei, citing Mr Chen's refusal to accept the 'one China' principle as a precondition.

While Mr Wang's remarks sounded conciliatory, other government officials in charge of Taiwan affairs talked tough.

Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council Chen Yunlin warned that if Taiwan authorities continued to go against the 'one China' principle, ties would be further 'poisoned'.