Taiwan pres candidate to invite Chinese leader to visit

Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh Monday declared he would invite Chinese leader Hu Jintao to visit and discuss bilateral peace and economic development if elected on March 22.

Taiwan pres candidate to invite Chinese leader to visit
"If elected president I will invite Mr Hu Jintao to visit Taiwan and hold talk with him in Kinmen," said Hsieh, referring to Taiwan's former defence outpost just across from China's southern city of Xiamen.

He said he would talk with Hu on how the two rival sides can coexist peacefully and develop their economies.

Kinmen, one of the two outlets for Taiwan to have direct transport with China, can become a special region for peace across the Taiwan Strait, he said.

Taiwan and China split at the end of a civil war in 1949. Taiwan has barred direct contact with China, but has allowed limited links with the mainland via two of its former defence outposts - Kinmen and Matsu - from where Taiwanese businessmen can go to and return from China, if not through a third country.

Hsieh said Kinmen would become a media attraction if leaders from the two sides hold talk there.

But he stressed for the two sides to hold any talks, they must set aside their political disputes over the thorny sovereignty issue, or it would be impossible for them to negotiate at all.

Beijing, which considers Taiwan an integral part of China that must be brought back to its fold, if necessary by force, has refused to hold talks with Taiwan, suspecting that the current administration led by President Chen Shui-bian wants to promote Taiwan independence.

Hsieh made the remarks during the opening ceremony of his campaign office in Kinmen.

Hsieh is running an uphill battle against the more popular opposition Nationalist Party candidate Ma Ying-jeou, who has led Hsieh by at least 10 percentage points in the latest opinion polls. The island will elect a new president on March 22.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Şubat 2008, 09:58