Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian made a veiled criticism of Kuomintang chairman Lien Chan yesterday, saying he changed his positions easily to suit his audience. At a tea party with Taiwanese journalists in Kiribati, Mr Chen also urged James Soong Chu-yu to stand up for the dignity of the Republic of China - Taiwan's official title - when he visits the mainland later this week. In a wide-ranging discussion with reporters who travelled with him to the South Pacific island state, Mr Chen reiterated an invitation to President Hu Jintao to visit Taiwan - saying he hoped Mr Hu would be able to learn what 'Taiwanese people really think'. But he sidestepped a question about whether he would want to visit the mainland, calling it just a 'hypothetical question'. He strongly denied the existence of a '1992 consensus' - stemming from talks between Taiwan and the mainland in Hong Kong in 1992 - in which both parties agreed that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait belonged to 'one China'. He said if Mr Hu was willing to visit Taiwan, he would show him documents to prove that such a consensus never existed. Commenting on the just-concluded mainland visit by Mr Lien, Mr Chen said he was puzzled by remarks made by the KMT chairman when he gave a speech at Peking University last week. 'Somebody even talked about 'joining hands with the communists to control Taiwan',' Mr Chen said. 'They said things that normally they dare not say in Taiwan.' Mr Chen also chided the KMT leader for dancing to Beijing's tune. 'Visits to the mainland do not mean [we let] the communists applaud [because they got what they wanted],' Mr Chen said. '[If only] Chairman Lien had said when he visited the mainland, 'the Republic of China is a sovereign independent country, Taiwan's future can only be decided by the Taiwanese people and Taiwanese people oppose the use of force',' he said. 'If he had said that, A-bian would also applaud him,' he said, using his own nickname. 'If I visit the mainland, that is what I will say. But will they let me visit if I do that?' The president then urged People First Party leader Mr Soong to emphasise Taiwan's political status when he meets mainland leaders. 'On Mr Soong's visit to Beijing, [I think] this is a very good opportunity... In dealing with the other side, chairman Soong will have both the courage and responsibility to make sure that the status quo of the Republic of China is being respected. This is a very important point,' Mr Chen said. He declined, however, to reveal what messages he had asked Mr Soong to pass to mainland leaders, saying it would not be helpful. 'Many people are anxious to know what message I asked chairman Soong to relay to President Hu [Jintao]. 'Since this is a private message, I think it is better not to make public ... however, this is definitely in the interests of the 23 million Taiwanese people,' he said.