Tue, Dec 23, 2008 - Page 1 News List

KMT cannot be a substitute for government, DPP says

‘NO BLANK CHECK’The DPP said that the participation of government officials at a forum in Shanghai may have broken the law. The KMT said they went as private citizens

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of replacing the government in cross-strait negotiations and said it was bringing back the old “party-state.”

DPP caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) told a press conference in Taipei that Taiwan-China talks should proceed within a government-to-government framework, rather than party to party.

“The unscrupulous KMT has ignored the harm it has done to the sovereignty of the government system … forcing the country to accept deals it has reached secretly with its Chinese counterparts,” he said.

The lawmaker said five government officials attended last weekend’s fourth joint Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Cultural Forum in Shanghai with KMT officials, violating the law, adding that the judiciary should investigate whether they had committed treason.

Lai said Taiwanese companies should be wary of the “economic benefits” offered by China.

Citing the case of Beijing allowing Taiwanese businesses to join public bids for major construction projects in China, Lai said Taiwanese enterprises had higher costs than their Chinese counterparts, which would make it very difficult to win bids for projects.

Lai said that although China had promised to buy US$2 billion in flat panels from Taiwanese companies, this accounted for less than 10 percent of annual sales and could hardly be referred to as a benefit.

If Chinese companies exported those panels to the international market after assembling them, Lai said, those products would compete with products made by local companies. He questioned whether Taiwanese companies would profit from such trade.

In a separate setting, Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said the KMT did not represent the voice of all Taiwanese and could not replace the role of the government in talks with China.

“Taiwanese did not give the KMT a blank check to do whatever it likes when dealing with cross-strait relations,” Huang said.

The financing of Taiwanese investors in China is meant to help the Chinese economy — its growth and employment — Huang said.

A US report showed Taiwan’s direct investment in China in 2005 was US$280 billion, Huang said.

“China’s economy depends on Taiwan, not the other way around,” Huang said, adding that people should not lose sight of that reality.

KMT caucus whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) said that all the decisions made at the forum could only serve as suggestions to the government. Lin said the five government officials who attended the forum did so as individuals rather than as representatives of the government.

Also yesterday, Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) said the conclusions reached and the suggestions made at the forum would only provide “direction for policymakers.”

“Solid negotiations on concrete matters and issues across the Taiwan Strait will still have to rely on the SEF and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait,” Chiang said.

Meanwhile, SEF Deputy Chairman Kao Koong-lian (高孔廉) said that it would be unrealistic to have high expectations regarding the agreements made at the forum.

Kao said Chinese authorities promised some time ago they would provide 50 billion yuan (US$7.29 billion) in loans from two Chinese state funds to Taiwanese businesses to facilitate operations in China.

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