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Address by MAC Chairman Jaushieh Joseph Wu at the 2007 New Year’s Press Conference

  • Date:2007-01-05

January 5, 2007 Mainland Affairs Council, Executive Yuan Friends from the Media: Happy New Year and greetings to you all! I deeply appreciate the support and advice that you all have given to the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) over the past year. At the start of the new year, the MAC would like to take this opportunity today to brief you on the achievements the MAC has made over the past year; and also to outline our expectations and outlook for cross-strait relations in the new year. 2006 was a year full of challenges and opportunities for cross-strait relations. Under the shadow of the “anti-separation law”(ASL), China has not only continued to escalate its military deployment against Taiwan, but has also intensified its suppression against Taiwan in the international arena using every conceivable means. Over the past year, Taiwan has faced a complex international situation and domestic political and economic climate. Yet the Taiwanese government has steadfastly adhered to the principles of “goodwill, active cooperation, and permanent peace” as a guiding force in handling cross-strait policies. It has also continued to actively seek cross-strait dialogue and negotiations under the principles of “sovereignty, parity, democracy and peace.” Moreover, the MAC has actively shown its sincerity in improving cross-strait relations by promoting already-existing policies and measures. Through these efforts, the MAC has not only preserved opportunities for positive development of cross-strait relations, but has also made a number of achievements. The concrete results achieved by the MAC in its work over the past year include those in the following areas: 1. Upholding principles: In matters involving negotiations, the MAC has developed new models for cross-strait negotiations within the scope authorized by the “Act Governing Relations between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and Mainland Area” under the principles of “setting aside disputes, laying no preconditions, expressing mutual respect, acting pragmatically, the government taking initiative, and the private sector providing assistance.” 2. Cargo and passenger charter flights: Since it is not currently possible for the governments of both sides across the Strait to hold negotiations on aviation rights related to direct transportation links, the MAC has prioritized negotiations on promoting cargo and passenger charter flights. The MAC has already completed negotiations on four types of specialized charter flights, including cargo, holiday, medical and humanitarian charter flights. These flights have been smoothly implemented. 3. Promotion of tourism: To push forward negotiations on the issue of opening up tourism in Taiwan for Chinese tourists, the MAC has assisted in establishing the Taiwan Strait Tourism Association (TSTA) as the window for dialogue between the TSTA and its counterpart organization formed by the Chinese authorities. The TSTA has maintained close contacts with its Chinese counterpart and they have met several times to discuss technical issues. 4. Joint crackdown on crime: Through the appropriate channels of cross-strait exchanges, the MAC has been communicating with personnel of China’s relevant responsible authorities on the issues of the joint crackdown on crime, the protection of intellectual property rights, and the export of agricultural goods to China. Such exchanges will provide the basis for resuming formal negotiations in the future. 5. Normalization of economic and trade exchanges: The MAC has completed the planning on a “cross-strait economic and trade mechanism based on the ‘proactive management and effective liberalization’ principle.” In accordance with this planning, the MAC has established a mechanism for policy review of major China-bound investment cases in a sequential and orderly manner. Under this mechanism, the government has step-by-step eased China-bound investments in low-end wafer packaging and testing facilities and small-sized flat panel display manufacturing to meet industry needs and conform to international standards. Under certain conditions the government has also lifted restrictions on China-bound investments in producing eight-inch wafers using Taiwan’s 0.18-micron process technology. 6. Strengthening orderly exchanges: The MAC has formulated the “operating procedures of administrative punishment” to serve as the basis to execute the confiscation of vessels carrying illegal Chinese stowaways so as to curb this channel of human trafficking. It has also strengthened the mechanisms for managing the visits of Chinese people to Taiwan to prevent mainlanders that enter Taiwan legally from engaging in illegal acts. The MAC has not only studied the establishment of management mechanisms for identifying and protecting refugees from China, but has also promoted the enactment of a Refugee Act. Moreover, it has coordinated with the Chinese authorities to accelerate the repatriation of illegal Chinese stowaways back to China. At present, there are 534 Chinese stowaways at detention centers in Taiwan, representing the lowest figure in 13 years. 7. Normalization of personnel exchanges: The government has been relaxing regulations on visits to Taiwan by Chinese people for business activities. It has also passed measures to allow civil servants with a 10th grade of Selected Appointment Rank and below to travel to China; completed planning of laws, regulations and accompanying measures on opening up tourism in Taiwan for Chinese tourists; and relaxed quota restrictions on the numbers of Chinese employees that transnational companies can invite to Taiwan. 8. Holding of the CSDTE: In line with the opening of the Conference on Sustainable Development of Taiwan's Economy (CSDTE) convened by the government, the MAC has assisted in forging consensus between the ruling and opposition parties. The MAC has co-chaired the CSDTE’s Panel on Global Deployment and Cross-strait Economic and Trade Relations, in which concrete conclusions have been reached on 58 issues, including the strengthening of risk management mechanisms for cross-strait economic and trade exchanges. 9. Comprehensive review of the “Mini-Three-Links”: The MAC has been coordinating discussions among the relevant responsible authorities on expanding the scope of the “Mini-Three-Links” so that veterans not living in the Fujian area, enterprises investing in Fujian, as well as participants in commercial exchanges and academic activities to be held in Fujian can also avail of the “Mini-Three-Links” route to travel across the Strait. The MAC has not only facilitated convenient travel for Penghu residents traveling across the Strait via Kinmen and Matsu, but has also improved the measures governing the export and import of goods. 10. International voice: The MAC has continuously called on the international community to pay high attention to China's stubborn insistence on enacting the ASL as well as its military ambitions and diplomatic blockade against Taiwan. Moreover, the British Parliament, U.S. Congress and European Parliament have successively approved China reports that speak up for Taiwan. Looking ahead to cross-strait relations this year, people across all sectors of society cannot be optimistic that the Chinese authorities will face up to the fact that both sides of the Taiwan Strait have no jurisdiction over each other, or that Beijing will pragmatically make a concrete response to the normalization of cross-strait relations. However, to ensure cross-strait stability and Taiwan’s sustainable development, the MAC will continue to create opportunities for positive interactions in the course of developing cross-strait relations through adherence to the government's existing policy position. Moreover, the MAC will insist that in promoting related policies it should give priority consideration to the overall national interests and future economic and political development of Taiwan. The MAC will focus its full efforts on the following areas: 1. Based on the already-existing foundation, the MAC will fully promote negotiations on priority issues, such as the issues of opening up of tourism in Taiwan for Chinese tourists, cross-strait cargo and passenger charter flights, and Taiwan's agricultural exports to China. 2. In line with the policy of opening up Taiwan for Chinese tourists, the MAC will coordinate with various agencies to continue refining measures for receiving Chinese tourists and realizing the goal of enabling Chinese tourists to enjoy high-quality travel in Taiwan. 3. The MAC will carry out follow-up work related to the CSDTE. It will actively coordinate, plan and promote work on the consensus items reached by the CSDTE. And in the areas in which consensus has yet to be reached, the MAC will continue to communicate with all sectors of society to forge and expand consensus in support of the government's efforts to normalize cross-strait relations. 4. The MAC will continue to promote the normalization of cross-strait personnel exchanges and facilitation measures, including the “Mini-Three-Links,” and to strengthen management of orderly cross-strait exchanges. It will also coordinate with various government agencies to implement effective management measures and curb the use of boats as smuggling tools. 5. The MAC will not only make every effort in defending the sovereignty of Taiwan and ensuring peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, but it will also encourage both sides to usher in a new era of exchanges and interactions under the principles of “parity and reciprocity.” 6. The MAC will at all times expose and duly respond to China's attempts to unilaterally change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait through diplomatic blockade and military suppression against Taiwan, and by devaluing the significance of exchanges, sowing dissension, and boycotting negotiations. The MAC will also actively convey Taiwan’s position to the international community to ensure that status quo in the Taiwan Strait is effectively maintained. I would like to particularly emphasize that today, in the 21st century, the mainstream position of the international community is to resolve disputes through peaceful dialogue. This is also the unshirkable historic responsibility for both sides of the Taiwan Strait. I would also like to take this opportunity to appeal to China that the most meaningful approach to bringing about a new era in cross-strait relations in the new year is to initiate substantive dialogue between the two governments across the Strait, and through such dialogue seek to resolve disputes and truly envision cross-strait peace. Cross-strait relations are complex and constantly changing. Over the past year, our friends in the media have made earnest efforts to conduct news coverage of cross-strait relations and have offered their comments on related issues. In this regard, I would like to express my sincere respect and appreciation. Moreover, I want to convey comfort and encouragement to my colleagues at the MAC for their efforts over the past year. At the start of this new year, I also wish all members of the media and their families success, good health and peace.