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Election offers hope for cross-straits dialogue

Hon Phil Goff - Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Media Statement

22 March 2004

Election offers hope for cross-straits dialogue

Taiwan’s election offers an opportunity to restore momentum to cross-straits dialogue, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

Mr Goff welcomed the high turnout for the election, and the generally peaceful way in which it was conducted, although he deplored the shooting incident that injured President Chen Shui-bian and his deputy Annette Lu in the final days of the campaign.

"Confirmation of the election result may be subject to judicial review. It is important that such judicial process is respected, and that domestic calm is maintained," Mr Goff said.

"The principal challenge that will face the new government is to re-engage with Beijing in a constructive way. Cross-straits stability is central to regional security, and I hope that Taiwan will not do anything that could jeopardise the measured way in which relations between Taipei and Beijing have progressed in recent years.

"The true exercise of democracy requires leaders to provide leadership based on rational analysis of long-term interests. There is too much at stake, not only for Taiwan, for any acts of unnecessary confrontation."

Mr Goff also welcomed the restraint shown by Beijing throughout Taiwan’s election campaign, and urged China to avoid any thought of recourse to military force.

"New Zealand hopes that both sides will commit to resolving their differences through peaceful means, and we have consistently called for dialogue towards this end.

We applaud the growth of a vibrant economic relationship that brings huge benefit to both sides of the straits; benefit that can and will grow significantly," Mr Goff said.

ENDS


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