Some statements of support yesterday offset growing discontent among Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators about the appointment of former Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislator Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) as chair of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).
KMT Legislator Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) yesterday urged president-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to back down from his decision to appoint Lai.
Asked for comment, Lee said many Taiwanese businesspeople based in China had called him and threatened to boycott Ma’s inauguration ceremony this month.
“Ms Lai’s nomination is not an ordinary one and its impact should not be underestimated,” Lee said.
KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) said Lai would have to step down and Ma would have to apologize to the public for the “wrong appointment” if his plans to open weekend cross-strait charter flights in early July and increase the number of Chinese tourists were compromised as a result.
“Everyone is worried about China’s reaction to Lai’s nomination as the chairwoman,” KMT Legislator Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) said when approached for comment.
“Ms Lai should reject the nomination because she is unacceptable to the pan-blue camp,” Hsu said.
However, acting KMT caucus secretary-general Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑) threw his support behind Ma, saying that Lai should be allowed to take up the post.
Hsieh invited Lai to explain her position on cross-strait issues to caucus members in a bid to prevent the controversy from escalating.
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) of the KMT also expressed support for Ma’s decision.
“I respect the authority of Mr Ma and premier-designate Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) to appoint personnel,” Hau said. “We should believe in Mr Ma, since there must be some strategic considerations behind the appointment ... and he must be confident in implementing his policies.”
Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋), also a KMT member, said Ma should not be influenced by the TSU when dealing with cross-strait policies, as Ma “has already been elected president.”
“Mr Ma has won the support of more than 7 million voters, which empowers him to set cross-strait policy,” Chou said. “He should not seek a compromise with the TSU.”
In response, Ma spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) said yesterday that Lai should be given a chance to prove her ability to execute Ma’s cross-strait policies.
Lo said Ma’s cross-strait policies had not changed, and that the public should trust the president-elect’s choice of Lai as the MAC chairwoman.
Rejecting recent speculation in the Chinese-language media about whether Lai’s appointment would have a negative impact on cross-strait relations, Lo described the reports as “presumptuous.”
It was only to be expected that some appointments would give rise to divergent responses, Lo said.
“Mr Ma will take opinions from all sides into consideration,” he said.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), meanwhile, was keeping its distance and said it would watch developments surrounding Lai’s appointment.
DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said at the party’s Central Standing Committee meeting yesterday afternoon that the DPP had reached a consensus that it would refrain from criticizing Lai or her appointment.
Continued from page 1
In a show of strength, Lai and Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) chairman-designate Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) last night appeared together for the first time.
“I repeat: My views on cross-strait affairs are synonymous with those of president-elect Ma Ying-jeou,” Lai said.
Lai said that she supported the “one China, different interpretations” approach that constituted the so-called “1992 consensus” and that she agreed with Ma’s “no unification, no independence, no war” policy.
Lai and Chiang said they would work together smoothly.
“The president has direct jurisdiction over cross-strait affairs because he has the final say on all major decisions. The MAC functions like a facilitator to make sure all voices across the spectrum are heard, including those of the public,” Chiang said.
Chiang added that the SEF is the only private organization authorized to negotiate with Beijing.
Lai said although she is a TSU member, she would not take part in party activities during her term.
DPP chairmanship candidate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) said Lai could use her influence to explain the pro-independence perspective to Beijing, because she would be the only Cabinet official in the KMT administration who is in favor of independence.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih, Jenny W. Hsu and CNA
Also See: EDITORIAL: Et tu, my KMT colleagues?
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the