Beijing moves to soothe Taipei
CHINA'S top Taiwan affairs official said yesterday the relationship between Beijing and Taipei should not regress despite Beijing's efforts to block Taipei's bid to enter the UN and Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui's visit to the Asian Games.
Tang Shubei, secretary-general of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), met his Taiwan counterpart, Hsu Hui-you, deputy secretary-general of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) yesterday in Beijing.
He told Mr Hsu during their 30-minute meeting that co-operation between ARATS and the SEF should not be affected.
'Our differences have been there since 1949, so this should not influence our co-operation,' Mr Tang said.
He had also tried to convince Mr Hsu that his comments this month in San Francisco were only based on ARATS' policy of 'one country, two systems'.
Mr Tang's 'three-nos' remarks - no UN bid, no vacation diplomacy and no visit to the Asian Games by President Lee - have caused resentment in Taipei. A Taiwan media delegation has cut short its mainland visit in the wake of Tang's criticism.
But Mr Hsu said Mr Tang, as a leading official in cross-strait affairs, should be careful with his comments.
'If a responsible person from the SEF openly advocates Taiwan independence, then it would certainly cause reactions from the mainland. Therefore, I think mutual respect should be the principle we should uphold in the exchanges between the two places,' he said.
Although Mr Lee has backed down in the row and decided to stay at home, Taiwan's vice-premier Hsu Li-teh is expected to attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Games this Sunday.