Taiwan officials Sunday dismissed a report that President Ma Ying-jeou plans to reinstate a council which recommended policies on reunification with China, despite a recent thaw in cross-strait relations.
The National Unification Council, set up in 1990 by the Kuomintang government, was scrapped in 2006 by then president Chen Shui-bian of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.
The council was considered largely symbolic and had been dormant since Chen was elected in 2000 but his decision infuriated Beijing, which regards the island as part of its territory. The move also drew serious concerns from ally Washington.
Chen had defended his decision, saying it was prompted by Beijing's persistent military threat and its attempts to use non-peaceful means to unilaterally change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.
The Taipei-based Liberty Times, without providing sources, said Sunday that the China-friendly Ma administration was mulling restoring the council to help facilitate cross-strait exchanges between the rivals.
Presidential office spokesman Wang Yu-chi however rejected the report as a "rumour".
"President Ma had made it clear that 'no unification, no independence and no use of force' is the present guideline for the mainland policy," he told reporters while accompanying Ma during a trip to southern Pingtung county.
"There is not any change. We've no plan to reinstate the council."
During the run up to the March 22 presidential polls, the Hong Kong-born Ma had repeatedly assured voters that he would safeguard the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.
Last Mod: 06 Temmuz 2008, 17:05