Wed, May 27, 2009 - Page 1 News List

KMT head meets Chinese president, targeting trade

FIRST STEP The Chinese president said the two sides should engage in ‘pragmatic discussions’ before carrying out unification with the ultimate goal of achieving peace

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chiang made the remarks in response to questions about a poll released by the SEF yesterday to mark the completion of Chiang’s first year as the agency’s head.

According to the poll, 49.3 percent of respondents said they did not believe the nine agreements signed by the SEF and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) had damaged the nation’s sovereignty and dignity, while 39.7 percent said they did.

National Policy Foundation adviser Jack Lee (李允傑) said in a similar question, 55.7 percent of respondents believed the agreements followed the principle of prioritizing Taiwan and the public’s interests, while 32.8 percent believed the deals violated the principles and 11.2 percent said they were unsure. Lee said vague wording might have contributed to an apparent discrepancy of 6 percent to 7 percent between the two questions.

Chen I-hsin (陳一新), a professor at Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of American Studies, said upcoming cross-strait talks would be more difficult because negotiations are a matter of giving and taking and it is Taiwan’s turn to give.

“Sovereignty will never be compromised under the KMT administration,” he said, adding that the opposition was wearing out the phrase “sell out.”

“When [the phrase] ‘selling out Taiwan’ is villified, it will become meaningless,” he said.

A majority of the respondents in the poll said their impression of the Chinese and Chinese government had not changed since the two sides had developed closer ties.

Lee said this sent a clear message to Beijing that its image would not improve in Taiwan if it continued to suppress the country. To win over public opinion in Taiwan, Beijing must adopt a flexible approach, he said.

While 76.7 percent of respondents agreed that the SEF and ARATS should establish liaison offices on each other’s side of the Strait, Chiang said the matter would probably not be discussed at the next round of cross-strait talks.

Any such liaison office should be fashioned as a quasi-representative office and not a contact office similar to those in Hong Kong and Macao, Lee said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday the party opposed Wu and Hu discussing the ECFA.

“Issues relating to an ECFA should not be discussed between the KMT and the CCP before the Taiwanese public has reached a consensus on it. The right to make a decision on any ECFA belongs to the Taiwanese people, not the KMT or the CCP,” Tsai said.

Tsai said the government was ignoring public opposition to the proposed agreement.

Later yesterday, Tsai said the DPP would release details within a week of a plan to seek a referendum on the ECFA.

Separately, DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) said yesterday that she believed China was fiddling its economic figures.

“According to Chinese economic data from the first quarter released by the Chinese government, although China’s electricity production fell 4 percent, its oil demand 3.5 percent and its tax revenue 10 percent, its economy still grew 6.1 percent,” Yeh said, calling it a “miracle.”

As China’s economic performance may not be as strong as Beijing claims, Yeh said Taiwan should not put all its eggs in one basket by relying too much on its neighbor.

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