Chen and James Soong had second, secret chat

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 May, 2005, 12:00am

The Taiwanese president has admitted holding a second meeting with the leader of Taiwan's second-biggest opposition party following their landmark meeting on February 24.

The admission, which came during Chen Shui-bian's tour of Pacific island allies, has come as a surprise in Taiwan, with the rival pro-independence and pro-unification camps questioning whether there were secret dealings between the two.

People First Party (PFP) chairman James Soong Chu-yu 'must clearly tell the opposition supporters what was said in the meeting and in what capacity he was visiting the mainland', said legislator Fei Hung-tai, of the pro-unification New Party. He said such secret meetings often backfired because no one knew what they said and naturally became suspicious.

While en route to the Marshall Islands on Sunday, Mr Chen revealed for the first time he had had a second meeting with Mr Soong after their first one on February 24. That meeting was widely viewed in Taiwan as a tactic by Mr Chen to break the alliance between the PFP and the Kuomintang, which together hold a slight majority in the Legislative Yuan.

Mr Chen said again on Monday in Kiribati that the two had met since February 24 and admitted that he had asked Mr Soong to carry a message for him to the mainland leader, Hu Jintao. However, he has declined to reveal what was discussed in his second meeting.