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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 10:04 GMT
Taiwan leaders 'not welcome' in China
Annette Lu (L) and President Chen
Annette Lu (L) and President Chen: "Minority faction"
Chinese officials say an invitation to members of Taiwan's governing Democratic Progressive Party to visit China does not extend to the President of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian, and Vice-President Annette Lu.

A spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Mingqing, said the two were not welcome in China.

[Chen and Lu] don't belong to the majority group of the DPP

Zhang Mingqing
The spokesman said Beijing made a distinction between majority members of the DPP and a minority, including Mr Chen and his deputy, who - as he put it - stubbornly advocated Taiwanese independence.

The Chinese Vice-Premier, Qian Qichen, last week invited DPP members to come to China. He said only a small number of DPP members were separatists.

Correspondents say that was an unprecedented move, which was seen as a sign that Beijing was ready to accept the previously-vilified governing party as the leaders of Taiwan.

No change on 'one China'

But Mr Zhang said on Wednesday China had not changed its position on the "one-country, two-systems" formula, which it says Taiwan must accept before a dialogue on trade, travel and other issues could begin.

"The 'one-China principle' is our bottom line," he said.

President Chen has already rejected the policy, which states that Taiwan and the mainland belong to a single country.

Some in Taiwan see China's moves as a ploy to divide the DPP. The party has already split in recent years between supporters of Taiwan's formal independence from China, and those, like President Chen, who have vowed not to declare independence unless China attacks the island.

Beijing remains suspicious of moves such as President Chen's recent decision to add the words Taiwan to the passports used by the island's citizens.

See also:

18 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Taiwan approves travel to China
13 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Taiwan passport change angers China
31 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Taiwan logo change challenges China
03 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Taiwan tells China to respect election
25 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Q&A: Taiwan's relations with China
25 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Taiwan welcomes China overture
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