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Nov 03, 2008, No. 083

  • Date:2008-11-03

Response to DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen’s statement to the media

In a statement published in Taiwan’s major newspapers on November 3, Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen outlined reasons for not welcoming the visit of mainland China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin to engage in negotiations on technical issues. In response, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) makes the following statement:

1. First, the government’s policies on cross-strait relations, like all other policies, are constrained by our domestic laws and the public opinion. The negotiations to be conducted during this round of talks on an equal footing between the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and ARATS, like earlier rounds of talks conducted in a third place or in Beijing on the mainland, will similarly be constrained by domestic laws and the public opinion in addition to being closely monitored by the press. Furthermore, as this round of talks is being conducted in Taipei, it can more conveniently be monitored by Taiwan’s press, the public, and the opposition. This is consistent with the principles of democracy. The fact that the resumed institutionalized negotiations between the SEF and ARATS are being held alternately in Beijing and Taipei also highlights the principle of parity in cross-strait negotiations.

2. The issues that the MAC has authorized the SEF to negotiate in the current round of talks are limited to the following: cross-strait air transportation, sea transportation, postal cooperation, and food safety. The purpose of these negotiations is to pragmatically resolve problems that have arisen in cross-strait exchanges. Aimed at protecting the Taiwanese people’s interests and meeting their needs, the talks have nothing to do with political relations across the Taiwan Strait, let alone any change in our nation’s sovereign status. The accusation that as a result of the SEF-ARATS talks, “Taiwan will become another Hong Kong,” is therefore neither true nor valid.

3. The imperative to defend our nation’s sovereignty and dignity is the consensus shared by the government, the opposition, and the 23 million people of Taiwan. This administration has been carrying out its defense, diplomatic, and cross-strait policies in accordance with the will of the people and the law with concrete measures that demonstrate its determination to ensure our national security while promoting peace across the Taiwan Strait and in East Asia. Such measures have won praise and support from the United States, Japan, the European Union, and many other nations.

4. Since the current administration took office on May 20, it has on several occasions invited DPP Chairwoman Tsai to exchange views on affairs of national importance. Regrettably, however, she has declined to do so. Moreover, when MAC Minister Lai Shin-yuan recently paid a visit to the Legislature to deliver a briefing on the key issues to be addressed in the current SEF-ARATS talks, she was prevented by DPP legislators from doing so and was unable to field questions from legislators. Consequently, Minister Lai could only give her briefing and explain the agenda of the talks to Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng.

Chairwoman Tsai’s claim that this administration cares nothing about the nation’s dignity and sovereignty simply is not true. For this reason, the MAC deems it necessary to respond with this explanation.