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June 10, 2006

‘China should heed to US call for dialogue’

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June 10, 2006

TAIPEI: Taiwan urged rival China on Friday to heed the US call to engage in cross-strait dialogue to maintain stability in the region, and said the government had not plan to change the island’s status.

“Taiwan opts for maintaining the cross-strait status quo and has no plan to change such a status. We hope the authorities in Beijing can take the US’ opinion seriously and engage in direct dialogue with the elected leaders of Taiwan,” said Foreign Minister James Huang.

He said the latest statement from the US showed that Washington believes President Chen Shui-bian’s latest promise to not change the island’s status quo could help enhance regional stability.

He was referring to a statement issued by US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack on Thursday shortly after President Chen told a US envoy that he did not plan to declare independence.

“We welcome President Chen’s June 8 remarks as an important contribution to stability, and we urged Beijing to take parallel steps to fulfill its obligations for regional peace and stability, including reaching out to Taiwan’s duly elected leaders,” McCormack said.

During his Thursday meeting with Raymond Burghardt, chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, which represents the US interest in the absence of formal ties, Chen said he would not change Taiwan’s status as long as China did not send attack the island.

Taiwan and China split at the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing considers the island to be a rogue province that must be brought back to its fold, by force if necessary.