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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 April, 2005, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
Press split over Lien's China trip
Lien Chan
One paper dubbed Mr Lien a traitor

Taiwanese papers are very much at odds over the visits to China by the leader of Taiwan's opposition Nationalist Party, Lien Chan and James Soong, head of Taiwan's pro-unification People First Party.

By contrast, newspapers in China and Hong Kong give a broad welcome to both trips which they see as positive steps towards improving ties.

Behind all of this is Beijing's 'united front' strategy, which aims at cozying up to the opposition parties, dividing Taiwan and forcing the government to accept 'one China' and the alleged consensus... However, as long as Taiwan's political parties cannot agree on the basic principles of national sovereignty and policy toward China, then these two trips may turn out to be not a glorious beginning to better times, but the first step towards disaster.

Editorial in Taiwan's Taipei Times

The treasonous behaviour of Lien and Soong will force the people of Taiwan to take sides... If Lien and Soong take the bait that China offers, Taiwan will face a clear and present danger. How can the people of Taiwan stand by and do nothing?... The time has come 'to resist the invader and root out traitors'.

Chin Heng-wei in Taiwan's Taipei Times

Not just the US will be watching if Lien Chan is going to 'cooperate with the communists to oppose America'; not just the Taiwanese people will be watching if Lien Chan is going to 'cooperate with the communists to sell Taiwan'; even exiled Chinese democracy activists will be watching if Lien Chan is going to 'defect to the communists to oppose democracy'.

Jin Hengwei in Taiwan's Taiwan Daily

Long-term tension in cross-strait relations will not help Taiwan's political and economic development. Lien and Soong's mainland visits can be seen as a test for the future direction of cross-strait ties... Lien and Soong do not hold any government positions... it is therefore not appropriate to put 'red hats' on them and accuse them of selling out Taiwan.

Chen Weiqiang in Taiwan's China Times

If Lien Chan is going to 'test the water', then, of course, he should ask Hu Jintao about how to improve cross-strait relations on behalf of the 23 million people on this side of the strait. But, more than that, he should also frankly ask on behalf of the 1.3 billion people on the other side: how will mainland China transform its politics and economy? It is not possible to solve the cross-strait problem without tackling mainland China's political and economic transformation.

Editorial in Taiwan's United Daily News

If, when Lien Chan visits China, he can forcefully urge China to stop its military threats and stress Taiwan's sovereignty and dignity, no one will accuse him of cooperating with the communists against Taiwan. However, if Lien Chan wants to surrender to China in return for peace, at the expense of Taiwan's sovereignty, it would not only be unacceptable to the Taiwanese people but also opposed by the international community because it undermines the regional balance of power

Editorial in Taiwan's Liberty Times

The historic visit will undoubtedly deepen the love among compatriots across the Straits, enhance mutual understanding, prompt the Taiwanese public to have more cool-minded thinking about cross-straits ties and Taiwan's future, and inject fresh momentum to 'mainland fever' on the island.

Sun Shengliang in Beijing's China Daily

The mainland's invitation to Lien Chan fully manifested Beijing's sincerity in pinning hopes on the Taiwan people, doing its best to develop cross-strait relations and striving for peaceful reunification.

Sun Shengliang in Beijing's Renmin Wang

The Chinese Nationalist Party [Kuomintang] under Lien Chan's leadership has taken the lead in starting a 'journey of peace' to the Chinese mainland, and will actively conduct consultations on further developing cross-strait economic and cultural exchange. This has put huge pressure on the Chen Shui-bian administration, and has further strengthened the anti-independence and anti-secession public opinion in Taiwan.

Editorial in Hong Kong's Ta Kung Pao

Inviting the leaders of the KMT and the PFP [People First Party] to visit the mainland is the most prominent measure the mainland has taken to unite the anti-'Taiwan independence' forces [in Taiwan] since the publication of Hu Jintao's four-point guidelines on cross-strait relations. This shows that the mainland side has grasped the initiative in promoting the development of cross-strait relations

Editorial in Hong Kong's Wen Wei Po

Of course, we do not expect the visits of Mr Lien and Mr Soong will immediately change the cross-strait situation or bring about 'three links' overnight. However, it is still extremely beneficial and constructive for major political figures on both sides to have face-to-face contact and discussions. Only by doing this can the two sides close the gap between their positions and break the deadlock in cross-strait relations

Editorial in Hong Kong's Apple Daily

Kuomintang chairman Lien Chan bears a heavy responsibility as he sets off on his history-making trip to the mainland today... If cross-strait dialogue is to succeed, it must eventually be between the two governments. But the KMT's visit could help pave the way... with goodwill from all sides, the visit could help build a spirit of reconciliation which would also bode well for the future.

Editorial in Hong Kong's South China Morning Post

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