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Taiwan and China Seek Common Ground

July 15, 2001

Re "Taiwan's New Axis Tilts Away From China," July 9: Realignment of political forces is common in the development of democratic countries. The joint public appearances of Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian and his predecessor, Lee Teng-hui, might or might not be indicating an alliance of these onetime opponents. It is farfetched to say that they have rallied to champion Taiwan's formal independence from China. Like in any democracy, people in Taiwan are entitled to their own political ideologies and tolerate different opinions. Regarding the issue of "reunification with China or independence," the only sure thing is that the government will follow through with its people's will and choices.

Chen has emphasized that as long as China refrains from attacking Taiwan, he will never declare independence nor promote a referendum to change the status quo in regard to the question of independence or unification. He has allowed direct links between some of our offshore islands and mainland China. Taiwan is now preparing to admit tourists from the mainland and will be liberalizing restrictions on investing in the mainland. Chen has remarked that the two sides of the Taiwan Straits should work out a way of creating a "future one China." He has offered to reconcile with mainland China and called for negotiation between the two governments to discuss issues which will eventually help achieve stability and peace of the Taiwan Straits.

Charles Liu

Exec. Dir., Taipei Economic and

Cultural Office, Los Angeles

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