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Government’s Five-Point Statement on the KMT-CPC “Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Cultural Forum”

  • Date:2007-04-29

April 29, 2007, No. 43

Government’s Five-Point Statement on the KMT-CPC “Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Cultural Forum”

The Mainland Affairs Council issued the following five-point statement on April 29, 2007 regarding the “Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Cultural Forum” held by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing:

1. China used the occasion of the KMT-CPC forum to present the so-called “four-point opinion,” “six-point consensus” and various “authorization policy measures,” the content of which included internal areas that China should already be handling or improving; areas in which China must take actions to comply with international rules; and areas in which both sides of the Taiwan Strait are already holding negotiations. Overall, there were no specific breakthroughs achieved at the forum, and during the interviews conducted by China’s official medias shortly after the closing of the forum, even some forum participants raised many questions over whether or not the newly-reached six-point consensus could be implemented. It is abundantly clear that Beijing has intentionally used the KMT-CPC forum as a stage with the only true objective of conducting propaganda against Taiwan. The Taiwanese government made this assessment long before the forum was held.

2. Over recent years, both sides of the Taiwan Strait have been able to make definite progress in economic and trade negotiations. Such developments include the agreements reached by both sides on implementing successively the Lunar New Year charter flights in 2005 and 2006 and four types of specialized charter flights in 2006. These achievements owe mainly to the fact that both sides can pragmatically resolve related problems without imposing any political framework on economic and trade issues. We deeply regret that during cross-strait negotiations early this year, the Chinese authorities attempted to impose a political framework on the issue of opening up tourism in Taiwan for Chinese tourists. Nevertheless, Taiwan has not only consistently adopted an active and sincere attitude in proposing concrete plans to pragmatically resolve related issues, but it has also engaged in communications with China through discussions and other agreed methods. To date, however, Beijing has not made any concrete response to Taiwan. We are deeply puzzled and highly regretful over the untruthful statements made by the Chinese authorities regarding negotiations on opening up tourism in Taiwan for Chinese tourists. Nevertheless, Taiwan will make continued efforts to communicate with China with consistent sincerity and patience. We also hope that China will show the same sincerity and good faith, act on its words, and continue to hold discussions with Taiwan on issues in which there is still lack of consensus so that consensus can be achieved soon and the positive outcome long anticipated by the people of both sides can be realized.

3. Higher education in Taiwan is developing vigorously, with 156 institutions of higher education in the country today. To meet the challenge of global competition, the Taiwanese government has established the objective of developing Taiwan’s higher education with the first priority being placed on enhancing the quality of universities and pursuing outstanding research and instruction. At present, the expenditures of the universities in Taiwan are partly financed by the government and tuition fees are charged without distinction of local and foreign students. Under this circumstance, recruiting Chinese students to study in Taiwan will not only be unable to compensate for the insufficiency of university expenditures, but will also dilute resources available for higher education in Taiwan. At present, the Taiwanese government has embarked on a five-year, NT$50 billion project entitled “Aiming for the Top University and Elite Research Center Development Plan” with a view to developing some selected domestic institutions of higher education into world-class universities and top-notch research centers. The plan also aims to strengthen international academic exchanges, widen recruitment of foreign students, promote the internationalization of education in Taiwan, and enhance the international competitiveness of Taiwan’s universities. Since the lifting of bans on cross-strait exchanges many years ago, the Taiwanese government has consistently supported any exchange activities that are conducive to benign cross-strait interactions. It has also supported any efforts that will help both sides engage in comprehensive exchanges. However, China’s intentional targeting of a few specific items for the promotion of cross-strait exchanges is not conducive to the healthy development of cross-strait relations. Many issues arising from cross-strait exchanges need to be addressed urgently. We hope that China can devote more efforts to issues that need to be jointly handled by both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Moreover, China should positively respond to Taiwan’s appeal and resume dialogue with Taiwan as soon as possible.

Recruiting Chinese students to study in Taiwan may help some Taiwanese universities to meet their student recruitment needs, while also increasing understanding among Chinese youth about Taiwanese society, democracy, freedom and plurality. At the same time, however, it will also engender many problems (such as problems regarding guarantors for Chinese students applying to enter Taiwan, responsibilities and regulations, life care and assistance, part-time work, insurance, formation of associations, and related follow-up issues such as permanent residency, marriage, illegal residency, and national security). It will also require the government to relax the restrictions imposed by laws and regulations and coordinate with relevant agencies in drafting management measures to handle assistance and life management for Chinese students studying in Taiwan. Therefore, the responsible agencies of the government will continue to carefully formulate related plans and implement them in a sequential and orderly manner.

4. When any Taiwan’s opposition political party visits China for exchanges, it should first weigh and reflect the nation’s overall interests and Taiwan-centric consciousness. Any remarks that run counter to the fact that Taiwan and China have no jurisdiction over each other are not conducive to the development of benign cross-strait interactions. The conclusions reached at previous forums held by political parties on both sides of the Taiwan Strait under China’s framework for regulating party-to-party exchanges have demonstrated the fact that China is intentionally obstructing the healthy development of cross-strait exchanges and interactions, as well as avoiding communication and dialogue with the Taiwanese government. This is not a normal or effective channel for handling cross-strait exchange issues. The Taiwanese government insists that various cross-strait issues involving government authority should be negotiated and communicated with the government taking initiative through normal channels in order to ensure the long-term and overall interests of the Taiwanese people. The only option for resolving cross-strait issues at the current stage is that China should immediately eliminate its political preconditions and framework for formal cross-strait negotiations. This approach also accords with the expectations of the international community toward China.

5. The holding of the KMT-CPC forum also clearly highlights the irrationality of thinking that cross-strait exchange activities must be conducted under the “one China” political framework set up by the Chinese authorities. During the forum, the Chinese leaders made slanderous and untruthful criticism of Taiwan’s democracy, which shows that they have not only completely ignored the political reality that Taiwan and China have no jurisdiction over each other, but have also lacked the slightest respect for the right of the Taiwanese people to choose their future. This is the most fundamental obstacle to cross-strait relations. We urge the Chinese authorities to take more concrete actions to normalize cross-strait relations, rather than making high-sounding statements about so-called “peace and development.”