When it passed the national budget, the legislature also attached a resolution to regulate Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi’s (王郁琦) actions during his upcoming visit to China to meet with Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍). The resolution prohibits Wang from accepting or responding positively to statements or negotiations that would compromise Taiwan’s sovereignty, such as the “one China” framework or opposition to Taiwanese independence, nor is he allowed to engage in any talks or sign any kind of document pertaining to political issues such as “one China,” the “one China” framework, the “one country, two areas” policy, the establishment of a mechanism to build mutual military trust, a peace agreement or any arrangement aimed at bringing about gradual political relations. In addition, he must not issue any press releases or statements. If he does any of these things, he will have to bear full political responsibility.
While implementing its cross-strait policy over the past five years, the government has presented the nation with fait accompli after fait accompli. The public has had no chance to ask questions or find out what is going on. The opposition and the legislature have been unable to monitor the government’s dealings. Since the arbitrary signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, Taiwan’s sovereignty has been gradually weakened and the economy has been locked into the Chinese market, causing a massive outflow of industry, technology, workers and capital. The economy has become dependent on China and stopped developing on its own, which has undermined industry and the job market. And now the government is pushing for a service trade agreement, which will only tighten China’s grip on Taiwan.
This has led to a crisis in trust, because everyone is concerned over how the government handles cross-strait relations. This is why the legislature has drawn a line in the sand ahead of Wang’s visit.
Ever since Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森) said that he was “reporting to the chairman” in a meeting with Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Chairman Jia Qinglin (賈慶林), it has been evident that officials are treating Chinese officials as their superiors.
If the line is not drawn with Wang, there could be another example of a Taiwanese official “reporting to his superior.” In addition, the public worries that he will beg China to help the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the year-end elections or that he will make concessions and engage in more underhanded dealings to bring about a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
To avoid further integration without public debate, Taiwanese should extend their monitoring of cross-strait affairs. This should include the legislature’s monitoring of cross-strait policy, perhaps in the form of a response team, as suggested by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平). Before the government engages in cross-strait talks, it should first submit a report to the legislature and then keep it informed. Before an agreement is signed, the legislature should review each article of the agreement.
Public monitoring of cross-strait affairs must also improve, and non-governmental organizations should be given more information and show more concern. Before the government engages in cross-strait talks, it should seek out public opinion. Non-governmental organizations should express their opinions and they should issue evaluations of any results.
Cross-strait affairs are not the exclusive preserve of Ma, the MAC, the SEF or the KMT government. It affects the future of all Taiwanese. The legislature and non-governmental forces should be carefully monitoring the government.