Beijing should read President Chen Shui-bian's inaugural speech with a 'wide-angle lens' instead of a 'microscope', Taiwan's senior officials in charge of cross-strait relations said yesterday. But the officials declined to respond directly to an offer by Beijing that the two sides reopen dialogue between Koo Chen-fu and Wang Daohan under the so-called 1992 'consensus' over the 'one China' principle. Mr Koo and Mr Wang, special envoys appointed by Taipei and Beijing respectively to handle cross-strait matters, held their first summit in Singapore in 1993, ending four decades of animosity. But the connection was broken last summer when relations soured. 'It's too early to talk about this [Beijing's offer] now, we should take the May 20 inauguration speech as a new beginning,' Mainland Affairs Council chairman Tsai Ing-wen said yesterday. 'We should read President Chen's speech in its entirety, not isolate this piece or that piece because this will destroy the overall balance of the speech. If we read the speech through a microscope, it will greatly limit our scope of interpretation.' Ms Tsai said the new Government needed time to assess the situation and a full response to Beijing's offer would come later. She was optimistic about a planned visit by Mr Wang to Taiwan and the promotion of direct trade and transport links with the mainland but said cross-strait ties could only improve with Beijing's co-operation. Earlier, one of Ms Tsai's deputies, Lin Chong-pin, also urged a more generous interpretation of Mr Chen's speech, in which the President gingerly touched on the 'one China' principle. Instead of a direct response to Beijing's demand that Taipei accept the 'one China' principle unreservedly, Mr Chen said both sides could 'jointly deal with the question of a future one China'. 'A question is not an issue, is not a principle. A question is something to be discussed. A future 'one China' is a very general description,' Mr Lin said. 'I think we should allow some room for imagination here so that both sides can have some room to manoeuvre. We should approach President Chen's speech with a wide-angle lens, not a microscope.' In his inauguration speech, Mr Chen also pledged not to take steps which Beijing would interpret as moves towards Taiwan independence. Although Beijing said Mr Chen was being 'evasive', it offered to resume cross-strait dialogue if Taipei agreed to return to the 1992 'consensus' and stop pushing a claim made by former president Lee Teng-hui on Taiwan's statehood. Under the 1992 'consensus', Beijing said both sides had accepted the 'one China' principle but each side would express the agreement individually. But Taiwan said both sides agreed to have a different interpretation of the 'one China' principle. Ms Tsai was reluctant to elaborate on the 1992 'consensus' yesterday but she and her colleagues hinted that Taipei would like to move forward and build on past exchanges between the two sides. Another deputy of Ms Tsai, Chen Ming-tong, said there was no reason Taipei would want to abandon the existing channel of dialogue with Beijing. Mr Chen, a key presidential aide, has joined the Mainland Affairs Council as one of three vice-chairmen, responsible for the council's relationship with the parliament.