Fri, May 02, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Lai Shin-yuan says she supports Ma’s cross-strait policies

By Jenny W. Hsu and Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) chairwoman-designate Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) held her second press conference in 12 hours yesterday morning, saying that her stance on cross-strait issues was in accord with that of the new administration, despite her past as a legislator in a pro-independence party.

Lai said that she would continue to fight for the disadvantaged during her tenure as MAC chairwoman.

“I fully agree with the ‘one China, two interpretations’ approach that constitutes the ‘1992 consensus’ and I have never vacillated from my position,” she said.

Lai said the current cross-strait issue is not about whether to open up to China, but setting contingency plans to avoid any negative impact that the warming relationship with China might have.

This could include increased unemployment and reduced business opportunities for people in Taiwan once exchanges across the Taiwan Strait become more frequent as expected under the new administration, she said.

“All cross-strait exchanges must be Taiwan-centric and based on the welfare of the Taiwanese people and protection of Taiwan’s solidarity. My foremost principle as the MAC head would be that none of the policies involves changing the current status quo of ‘no unification, no independence, no use of force,’” she said, adding that any dialogue with Beijing would have to stem from good faith on both sides.

The conference was Lai’s second attempt in a day to assuage fears that her appointment has raised within the pan-blue camp.

Known for her outspoken attitude on social issues, the former Taiwan Solidarity Union lawmaker said that one of her goals as the MAC chair would be the fair distribution of wealth in the country and that the beneficiaries of improved Taiwan-China ties should contribute more to help marginalized groups.

However, Lai refused further comment when asked if it meant the government planned to implement a policy to raise state income from the wealthy.

She denied rumors of ill feeling between her and Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), the designated head of the Straits Exchange Foundation, the nation’s only civic group that is authorized to negotiate with Beijing on behalf of the government.

“As I have said before, there will be no division of labor problems between the MAC and the SEF. Both agencies strive to reap the most benefits for Taiwanese,” Lai said.

She said cross-strait policies would be determined solely by consensus among government agencies and that the president would have the final say on decisions.

Lai repeatedly defended her loyalty to the new government, saying her TSU membership did not conflict with president-elect Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) policies.

“Since last January, the TSU has shifted its position from a pro-Taiwan independence stance to a more center-left approach. Our efforts aim to improve the lives of the middle and lower classes,” she said, adding repeatedly that she had been the driving force behind the shift.

Lai distanced herself from her past “deep green” pro-Taiwan independence image, saying that the color green represented cleanliness, environmental protection, sustainability and peace.

“I would be happy to be described as that type of green,” she said.

Following the press conference, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators continued to attack the consistency of her stance.

When approached for comment, KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) called Lai “a politician who just wanted a government post,” adding that she did not have “an intellectual’s strength of character.”

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