KMT's Lien set to meet Hu in Beijing
Lawrence Chung in Taipei
President Hu Jintao is expected to meet the honorary chairman of Taiwan's Kuomintang, Lien Chan, at a high-level economic forum in Beijing next week.
'The mainland authorities consider the forum between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] to be rather important, and the CCP general secretary, Hu Jintao, is expected to personally take part in the forum,' a KMT source said yesterday.
The forum was scheduled for Taipei in December as part of a co-operation programme between the KMT and the Communist Party after last year's mainland visit by Mr Lien, who was then chairman of the island's main opposition party. But Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council barred the meeting from being held in Taipei on the grounds that Beijing refused to deal with the government.
The source said both Jia Qinglin, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council, would attend the meeting from next Friday to April 17 in Beijing.
KMT officials said that after the economic forum, Mr Lien would visit Fujian, where he is to pay tribute to his ancestors and be made an honorary professor at Xiamen University.
Meanwhile, Mr Lien's chief aide, Ting Yuan-chao, said it was unlikely he would ask Mr Hu to publicly declare his acceptance of the 'different interpretations' which underpin a controversial consensus reached by Taiwanese and mainland negotiators during talks in Hong Kong in 1992.
He was referring to a recent challenge by Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian that Mr Hu accept the controversial '1992 consensus', in which the two sides of the Taiwan Strait agreed that 'there is only one China, but each side can have its own interpretation of the meaning of 'one China'.'
In a recent meeting, incumbent KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou told President Chen that because of the consensus, the two sides were able to hold a landmark meeting in Singapore in 1993 to ease hostility.
Mr Ting said that in a meeting between Mr Lien and Mr Hu last year, Mr Lien had brought up the '1992 consensus' as a basis for future cross-strait talks, and Mr Hu also acknowledged it. 'It would be pointless to ask the other side of the Taiwan Strait to acknowledge it once again,' he said.