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Aug 05, 2010, No. 062

  • Date:2010-08-05

Minister Lai emphasizes that missile withdrawal should be a matter of action by the Mainland, and not for "talks." She calls on the Mainland to abandon its policy and thinking of using military force against Taiwan so that the two sides can lay a foundation for lasting peace and mutual trust

During a speech and in reply to questions at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C. today (August 4, 2010; U.S. Eastern Standard Time), Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Lai Shin-yuan stated that mainland China should never use military force in dealing with cross-strait issues. The withdrawal of Mainland missiles is something that should be done. It is not a topic for negotiation, nor should it be carried out with any political preconditions. Minister Lai clearly indicated that the Mainland must respect and face up to the fact of the existence of the Republic of China and forsake its policy and thinking of using military force as a means of resolving cross-strait differences. This is the only way that the two sides can establish a complete foundation of mutual trust and further promote long-term peaceful cross-strait relations.

Minister Lai was invited by the AEI to present a speech on "Taiwan's Mainland Policy: Borrowing the Opponent's Force and Using it as One's Own, Turning the Threat of a War into Peace and Prosperity. " The lecture was attended by over one hundred people from the U.S. government and academic sectors. Minister Lai highlighted the major process and implications of recent developments in cross-strait relations from the aspects of cross-strait negotiations, the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), the relationship of Taiwan's soft power with cross-strait relations, and political and military issues of cross-strait relations. She emphasized that Taiwan's democratic system and economic strength are important forces in cross-strait negotiations and dialogue, as well as in building harmony in the Taiwan Strait and the East Asia region. This is consistent with the shared values and interests of Taiwan and the U.S. in this region. Minister Lai told the audience that Taiwan has adopted the Tai Chi tactic of "borrowing the opponent's force and using it as one's own," applying this rationality and wisdom to face up to mainland China's rising power. Taiwan's soft power and the "Taiwan experience" are important bargaining chips in promoting cross-strait negotiations, as well as key elements in advancing economic, trade, and social transformation in mainland China. In the future, Taiwan will further upgrade this positive influence as cross-strait interactions deepen and broaden. Minister Lai also expressed belief that the international community, especially the U.S., should attach importance to such influence, and further strengthen bilateral dialogue and substantive relations with Taiwan on the development of cross-strait relations and regional security issues.

Minister Lai reiterated that the timing and conditions are still not ripe for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to embark on political and military talks. A sense of urgency on one side alone cannot be sufficient reason for demanding the other side to meet its subjective expectations. Minister Lai also emphasized in her speech that mainland China is still continuing to expand its military deployment against Taiwan and is still not willing to change its thinking on the use of military force against Taiwan. These are the obstacles to the development of cross-strait relations, and they need to be eliminated. The U.S. support for the development of cross-strait relations and its firm position on arms sales to Taiwan give Taiwan confidence and strong backing when it is promoting cross-strait relations. Minister Lai indicated that the Republic of China is resolved in maintaining a solid self-defense capability. She urged the U.S. to provide Taiwan with needed military equipment according to the Taiwan Relations Act and not to consult with the Mainland side on the issue of arms sales.

In addition, the participating scholars and reporters asked Minister Lai many questions regarding Taiwan's progress in negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries since the signing of the ECFA, as well as the Mainland's attitude towards these developments. Minister Lai stated that recently many countries and trade partners have expressed strong interest in signing FTAs with Taiwan. The government also is actively assessing and planning related affairs and has already made good progress. She emphasized that as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Taiwan is entitled to sign FTAs with other trade partners. Therefore, the power to make such decisions lies with Taiwan and not the Mainland.

During the speech and question-and-answering session, Minister Lai fully expounded on the government's cross-strait policy thinking and actions over the past two years, as well as the major results and follow-up planning related to the ECFA negotiations. The participants all expressed positive views on the development of cross-strait relations. During her stay in the U.S. Minister Lai plans to visit government officials, major think tanks, scholars, and overseas Taiwanese groups before returning to Taipei on August 8.