TAIPEI, Taiwan (21 March 2000)¯"We can talk about 'one China' as long as it is not a principle," the victorious candidate, Chen Shui-bian, said to Taiwan reporters on Monday. "As long as we are treated as equals, there is nothing we cannot discuss." This is apparently Chen's stance: avoid provoking a Chinese attack but at the same time coax its not-so-small neighbor into friendly dialogue.
Mr. Chen was elected Taiwan's new president after winning with 39% of the vote in a three-way race. Many experts think that before Chen solves Taiwan's problems with China, he must first concentrate on his own divided government, where the legislature is still under the control of the Nationalist Party. This could take several months, according to an AP report. Chen will become president on 20 May.
Mr. Chen has avoided provocative statements. He has even offered to exchange visits with Chinese leaders and discuss removing Taiwan's restrictions on economic ties, a longtime mainland goal. Up to now officials in Beijing have limited their comments on Chen's victory to, "We will listen to your words and watch your actions." (JW)