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"Three Links" Across the Taiwan Strait

■ The ROC government in May 1995 took the initiative of permitting foreign ships to navigate between Taiwan and mainland China through the offshore Transshipment Center?


■ The start-up of the offshore Transshipment Center?was delayed because the PRC did not respond until April 1997.


■ In an attempt to denigrate the ROC, the PRC has banned foreign ships from joining the offshore Transshipment Centers?based on the concept of sabotage? (the right to navigate along one's own coast).

I. General Setting :

At the moment, the ROC and the PRC are in the three Links?links in mail, transportation and trading) in an indirect way. In terms of mail(including telecommunication ) link, we, for instance, currently use marine cable systems jointly invested in the international community to handle telecommunication between Taiwan and Mainland China. Through such practice, we can considerably bring down the mailing costs and enhance the quality. Links in transportation and in trading are virtually interrelated to each other. In fact, transportation is the very pivotal part among the three Links?between the two sides of Taiwan Straits. More specifically, The term direct transportation?as used herein denotes that aircraft and vessels of both sides carry passengers or cargoes directly between the ROC and the PRC, using airports or ports of the both sides themselves without going through a third region. Such direct link in transportation involves extremely complicated issues. It is not yet a ripe timing to launch direct link in transportation so far.

II. The PRC, rather than the ROC, is the major barrier against the three Links?

Constantly, the PRC has sidestepped the very real fact that Taiwan and Mainland China have been de factor reigned by two separate governments, ignoring the reality of the ROC's presence, shutting the ROC out of room in the international community while it constantly threatens through the use of forces. As a very natural result, rational negotiation on the issues involved in the three Links?have been virtually impossible. In fact, the three Links?between the ROC and the PRC presuppose non-hostility from the PRC side. As soon as the PRC discontinues barring the ROC from activities in the international community and deals with the ROC on equal and reciprocal footing, both sides can proceed with the negotiations for the three Links? To put it in more understandable terms, the three Links?will come into being at a time when both sides sign peace treaty and terminate hostility.

III. The ROC took the initiative to launch the offshore Transshipment Center?

Amidst the efforts to develop Taiwan into the Asian-Pacific Operations Center and to help develop sounder ties with the PRC, the ROC tries to improve transport ties and upgrade economic and trading transactions with the PRC in a discerning and step-by-step manner. In an attempt to further warm up the transport ties with the PRC and to bypass the inconvenient indirect shipping, the ROC government took the initiative in May 1995 to promulgate the regulation Governing Establishment and Operate of Offshore Transshipment Centers? opening up Kaohsiung as the offshore Transshipment Center? permitting foreign ships to navigate direct between Taiwan and mainland China, operating the business activities in connection with transshipment of the cargoes through no customs clear, no entry? In response, the PRC promulgated the regulations Governing Transport between Two Sides of Taiwan Straits? but not until August 21, 1996 more than one year later on. The offshore Transshipment Center?officially started up operation in April 1997. Still in an attempt to denigrate the ROC government, the PRC has so far opened up only two ports--Xiamen and Fuzhou for transport link with Kaohsiung and banned foreign ships from joining the offshore Transshipment Center? leaving significant restrictions upon the offshore Transshipment Center?business scope.

IV. The ROC took concrete measures toward the three Links?

In the days and years ahead, we will through our consistent and continual efforts upgrade and expand the offshore Transshipment Center?performance and functions. Should everything be going on well without a hitch and should both sides perceive significant improvement of the ties, we will further blueprint and establish special Economic and Trading Zones?for direct trading links between the two sides. With vast hands-on experiences accumulated on both sides, through rational and friendly coordination, the long-held dreams of the Three Links?are supposed to come true in a not distant future.