President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday he is confident the cross-strait relationship will greatly improve after next March's presidential election and that he has a three-phase project to realize direct links by the end of next year.
"The normalization of the trade relationship between Taiwan and China is a road we must take, especially cross-strait direct flights and shipments," Chen said during a trip to the south with nearly 50 editors-in-chief from local newspapers, magazines and TV and radio stations.
"Now we are in the first stage of preparation on the facilitation of consignment," he said. "And after next year's presidential election, I am confident that I can remove all the barricades and resolve hesitation on the Chinese side [to direct links]."
PHOTO: CHANG CHUNG-YI, TAIPEI TIMES
"I believe that the negotiations will be conducted under the principles that Taiwan's security will be preserved and Taiwan's status be respected on an equal level," Chen said.
"In the final stage, both sides will accomplish all negotiations on the direct-links issue and begin to carry out our plans step-by-step. And that time, I believe, will come before the end of next year," he said.
Chen implied that the stagnation of cross-strait relations since he took office was not his fault but should be blamed instead on the pan-blue camp's actions.
The pan-blue camp worked to block the government's cross-strait policy and that was the crucial factor in preventing negotiations on direct links, according to Chen.
"If the KMT and PFP had not tried to have me recalled in 2000, creating instability in society, I believe the situation between both sides of the [Taiwan] Strait would not be what it is today," Chen said.
As a result of political posturing on either side of the Strait, there is little possibility of direct flights or shipments between Taiwan and China before the March election, Chen said.
He said he believes that he will win reelection and that Beijing will then have no choice but to deal with him.
"I think after March 20 everything will be better and then, it [cross-strait stagnation] will change," he said.
As for the economy, Chen said the government should be allowed a higher debt limit in order to increase public spending to boost the economy and create more jobs.
The total national debt amounts to one-third of GDP, far lower than that of several major countries, Chen said.
"It will not be a problem if the government borrows another NT$1 trillion under the current circumstances," he said
The government has drafted a five-year infrastructure plan costing NT$500 billion, which, if approved by the Legislative Yuan, would be mainly funded with money from the private sector.
The Public Debt Law (
Chen's trip with top media officials was part of an effort to showcase the government's progress on infrastructure and economic development over the last three years.
Chen reiterated that the government would strengthen its efforts to attract foreign investment.
He announced on July 7 that the government would, in the near future, scrap a US$3 billion cap on single qualified foreign institutional investors (QFII) in the nation's stock market.
As a small economy, more foreign investment would greatly help the process of internationalization and liberalization of Taiwan's economic development, Chen said yesterday, adding that he continued to work on this issue.
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South
‘CORRUPTION’: One DPP lawmaker and two KMT legislators were held incommunicado, while former NPP chairman Hsu Yung-ming was released on bail in the Pacific Sogo case The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that three lawmakers be held incommunicado amid a probe into allegedly bribery relating to an ownership dispute over Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). The three are Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) of the Democratic Progressive Party, and Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Also held incommunicado were Su’s office director Yu Hsueh-yang (余學洋) and Sufin’s office director Ting Fu-hua (丁復華), as well as Kuo Ke-ming (郭克銘), a political lobbyist and general manager of Knowledge International Consultancy (是知管理顧問公司). The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Friday raided the offices of six incumbent and former