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Beijing's approach 'appeals to Taiwan people'
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-16 05:26

In his New Year speech, Chen used scathing political rhetoric to highlight what he called investment risks on the mainland while vowing to tighten control over cross-Straits economic exchanges.

He also repeated a timetable to write a new "constitution" for Taiwan before 2008, a move widely believed to move the island towards de jure "independence."

Chen's remarks have drawn mounting criticism from the public on the island, especially the business community, for defying wide expectations for him to take a more conciliatory stance.

"When Chen is ignoring local people's common aspirations for economic development and better ties with the mainland, Beijing has moved to heed their call," Li said. "The Taiwan compatriots will decide for themselves which way benefits their well-being most."

Mainland-based Taiwan business people yesterday also hailed President Hu's overture as "positive news" for their investment as well as cross-Straits relations.

"We feel greatly encouraged by President Hu's goodwill gesture towards Taiwan investors and Taiwan people, given Chen's confrontational overture two weeks ago," said Deng Yao-wen, chairwoman of Zunlong Group.

Despite political tension across the Taiwan Straits, bilateral economic relations have grown stronger over the past two decades.

Taiwan investors had funded 67,714 projects on the mainland, with actual investment of more than US$41.48 billion by the end of November last year, according to the latest statistics.

Meanwhile, bilateral trade amounted to US$82.04 billion in the first 11 months of last year.

In another development, Yu Shyi-kun, an ally of Chen, was elected chairman of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party yesterday.

(China Daily 01/16/2006 page1)

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