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KMT Chairman Resolute on Visit

In the wake of the historic Kuomintang (KMT) trip last month, Taiwan authorities have taken steps to cool 'mainland fever,' but the KMT chairman yesterday pledged to push ahead with his planned visit despite attempts by the island's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to stop it.

"The visit is to open the door to peace through party-to-party communication. At this stage, it does not need the authorities' permission or approval," Lien Chan said in a statement.

On Saturday, Taiwan authorities leader Chen Shui-bian invited Lien via the media to meet him before going to the mainland, saying they would then be willing to authorize the trip.

The development came days after the KMT made its first official visit to the mainland in 56 years between March 28 and April 1, headed by the party's vice-chairman, Chiang Pin-kung.

It marked the opening of dialogue between the KMT and the Communist Party of China, and focused on strengthening economic and trade ties while paying respects to KMT heroes and party founder Sun Yat-sen.

Chen's administration has since launched an investigation into whether Chiang broke the law during the visit.

KMT Secretary-General Lin Feng-cheng said Lien was open to meeting Chen, but accused the Taiwan leader of being insincere.

"Sincerity is the most important thing. It's not very appropriate to issue such an invitation through the media," Lin told a news conference.

On April 5, Chen ordered an overall review of cross-Straits exchanges, stressing that the most important aspect of opening up to the mainland was "effective management."

Taiwan authorities have also halted plans to relax control over high-tech and chip-making investments on the mainland while pressing local farmers to stop promoting fruit exports there.

On Monday, Xinhua News Agency and the People's Daily urged them to withdraw their decision on April 10 to suspend permission for their correspondents to report from Taiwan.

The head of Xinhua's Taiwan Affairs Office said it was "surprised and regretful" at Taiwan's decision to suspend, for the time being, permission for the agency's correspondents to report from Taipei.
On the same day, a spokesperson from the People's Daily's Taiwan Affairs Office said it was regretful and "indignant" at the decision and called it an "action of turning back the clock."

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency April 12, 2005)


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