Taiwan: Taiwan sends China goodwill and hopes to avoid war
TAIPEI - Taiwan must be careful not to provoke China and should make goodwill gestures to reduce tension and ensure Beijing has no pretext to attack the island, Taipei's top mainland policy maker said Monday.
Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu said China was now formulating policy toward Taiwan to take into account the start last month of a second term in office for the island's pro-independence president, Chen Shui-bian.
"If China wants to have a war against Taiwan, they need to have some pretext. We will not allow China to have that pretext," he said in his first meeting with foreign reporters since taking office in May.
China views Taiwan as a rebel province that must be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.
Chen infuriated Beijing by narrowly winning re-election in March on a provocative campaign that Taiwan was an independent sovereign state.
Chen has since tried to make up by renewing promises not to declare independence, offering to swap envoys with Beijing and inviting China's top negotiator, Wang Daohan, to visit Taipei to restart talks.
These offers have fallen on deaf ears because China deeply mistrusts Chen and sees any gesture as insincere.
Wu said China has not replied to Taiwan's offer to resume talks with Wang, but it was clear Beijing was not yet ready to negotiate since it has repeatedly insisted Taipei accept the "one China" principle as a precondition for talks.
ONE MORE TRY
"We want to give it one more try to see if we can calm down the situation between the two sides and get cross-strait relations back to normal," Wu said.
However, he did not say what Taipei would do next if China
rejects the offer.
"We need to wait for a couple of months before China comes to a new policy on how to deal with Taiwan," Wu said, adding that Chinese think tanks were still formulating their recommendations.
In early June, Chinese state media ran reports saying Beijing did not welcome businessmen who supported Taiwan independence.
Wu said the Council had received no complaints of mistreatment from mainland-based Taiwan companies and saw the reports as Chinese propaganda designed to intimidate businesses from supporting the Chen administration.
In addition, last weekend, Taiwan pop diva Chang Hui-mei, known as A Mei, was forced to cancel a performance in the mainland after a demonstration accusing her of being an independence supporter.
While Wu was keen to emphasize goodwill gestures toward China, citing as an example approval for more Chinese journalists to come to Taipei, he also threw his support behind a proposed $18.2 billion special budget to buy advanced weapons from the United States.
"We have to have proper balance militarily in order to
prevent war from happening," he said. "Only when Taiwan feels confident
that it's not intimidated into negotiation that we can be sure that Taiwan is
courageous enough to go for negotiations."