Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said yesterday the government wished to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cross-strait financial supervision with China when Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) visits Taipei next week.
Signing an MOU, a prelude to enhancing exchanges in financial sectors across the Strait, was not among the four agreements the government planned to ink with China during the second round of negotiations between Chen and his Taiwanese counterpart, Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤). The four agreements on the table are direct cross-strait aviation routes, direct sea transportation links, direct postal service and a food safety mechanism.
“Although the financial issue is not on the agenda, we wish to sign the MOU before Chen goes back [to China],” Liu said on the legislative floor yesterday.
Liu made the remarks in response to a question from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) during the legislature’s question-and-answer session.
Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) had previously said that in accordance with the government’s timetable for enhancing cross-strait ties, the finance issue would be addressed during the next round of negotiations.
Chen is to arrive in Taipei on Monday. More than 10 Chinese economic officials are expected to come with him for two forums on financial and other economic issues.
The heads of several Chinese financial institutions and Chinese officials in charge of the regulation and supervision of banking, insurance and securities operations are also expected.
Lai said on Thursday at a press conference that the two forums are for exchanging ideas and that the government would not sign any financial MOUs with China this time around.
Some KMT lawmakers, however, pressed the government to accelerate the process of cross-strait financial cooperation, echoing calls made by Chen in Beijing at a press conference held on Thursday.
“We should take advantage of the opportunity to deal with the issue of cross-strait financial cooperation to get the MOU signed by March,” KMT Legislator Alex Fai (費鴻泰) said yesterday.
Liu said setting March as a target would be a “reasonable expectation.”
But he later said that he wished to see the MOU deal signed during next week’s negotiations.
Besides negotiating with Chiang, Chen will also meet political figures, including President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), during his five-day stay in Taiwan.
Details of arrangements for the upcoming meetings, however, have not yet been announced.
Liu said yesterday that he may not meet with Chen if both sides of the Strait failed to agree to protocol arrangements for their meeting.
In an interview with China Television Co broadcast late on Thursday night, Liu said the government would rather call off the Ma-Chen meeting if the principles of “equality” and “dignity” could not be upheld.
Saying that he would not receive Chen at the Executive Yuan, Liu said he would stick to meeting with Chen as premier and that Chen should address him as “Premier Liu.”
Liu said he would like to see Chen address Ma as “President Ma,” while other options would be in place if Ma’s official title were not accepted by China.
When pressed by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Jan-daw (余政道) for elaboration, Liu said: “Not meeting with [Chen] is one of the options.”