Tue, Mar 23, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Su's China visit another 'secret channel': DPP

By Vincent Y. Chao, Ko Shu-ling and Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said that a planned visit by former National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Su Chi (蘇起) to the Boao Forum in China next month could be the opening of another unaccountable negotiating channel.

“The DPP believes that cross-strait negotiations should be carried out within a governmental framework and be subject to legislative accountability,” DPP spokesperson Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said a day after Su, a close confidant of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), confirmed reports that he would attend the three-day annual forum in Hainan Province as a senior consultant for the Taiwan-based non-profit Cross-Strait Common Market Foundation.

Critics, including the DPP, say that Su’s visit should come under public scrutiny because of the national security concerns arising from his previous post.

Su resigned early last month, citing family and health reasons.

“We have concerns that Su’s visit will be used to create a second negotiation channel for Ma [that will add to] the already unaccountable links between the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] and the Chinese Communist Party,” Tsai said.

The DPP said it also feared that the specific reason behind Su’s visit was to launch negotiations on cross-strait military exchanges.

At press time, Su did not appear on a list of confirmed speakers and guests published by the organizers.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office last Wednesday expressed support for talks on cross-strait military confidence-building measures.

“Su expressed his intention to visit the forum immediately after China’s announcement. It’s clear that people will question the ‘special purpose’ of his visit,” Tsai said.

The Statute Governing the Relations Between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) states that public servants who have been involved with sensitive matters, including national security, diplomacy, national defense, intelligence and cross-strait affairs, must first obtain permission from the National Immigration Agency (NIA) before visiting China.

The duration of the period during which retired officials are required to obtain permission is usually three years, but decisions are made at the discretion of government agencies, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister and spokesman Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said yesterday.

The forum was the event that hosted a historic meeting between then vice president-elect Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) and Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in April 2008. One of the stated aims of the annual conference is to promote regional economic integration.

Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) told an Internal Administration Committee meeting yesterday that the ministry had yet to receive Su’s application for permission to travel to China.

“As far as I know, we have not yet received an application from Su,” Jiang told legislators.

DPP Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩) asked Jiang if it was too late for Su to file an application because, according to the law, the application should be filed at least three weeks prior to the date of departure. The Boao Forum opens on April 9, less than three weeks from now.

“Yes, in general, you need to file an application three weeks in advance, but there are cases in which exceptions have been made when it’s an emergency,” Jiang said.

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