Thu, Oct 14, 2010 - Page 1 News List

China offers Taiwan military dialogue

DECLARATION:While advocating exchanges on military issues, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman said ‘both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China’

By Ko Shu-ling  /  Staff Reporter

Beijing yesterday offered to open talks on military issues with Taipei and to discuss the possible removal of the missiles it has targeted at Taiwan at an “appropriate” time, a message that drew mixed responses in Taipei and a rare rebuke from the premier.

The comments by Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Yang Yi (楊毅) came in the wake of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) Double Ten National Day address on Sunday in which he urged Beijing to quickly remove the more than 1,500 missiles that are still aimed at Taiwan, despite ostensibly warmer ties between the two governments.

During his regular news briefing, Yang said Beijing advocated conducting contacts and exchanges on military issues — including cross-strait military deployment issues — in a “proper way” at a “proper time.”

“[We will] discuss setting up a cross-strait security mutual trust system to stabilize the cross-strait situation and ease military security worries,” he said.

Yang said both sides of the Taiwan Strait should find the “right method” to exchange views on military issues, including military deployment and confidence-building mechanisms, in a bid to alleviate misgivings over military security and stabilize the situation across the Taiwan Strait.

Asked what he meant by “right method” and whether Beijing had any timetable, Yang did not give a specific answer, but said both sides could discuss the matter when they think it is “appropriate.”

On Ma’s call for “mutual non-denial” on Sunday, Yang said: “There is only one China in the world and both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division.”

“We understand the feelings of the Taiwanese compatriots who want to participate in international organizations,” Yang said in response to a question about Taiwan’s desire to participate in specialized UN agencies.

“As long as there won’t be two Chinas or ‘one China, one Taiwan,’ the two sides can negotiate the matter pragmatically and make appropriate arrangements,” he said.

Responding, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said it was impossible for both sides to build mutual trust under the preconditions set by Beijing, adding that despite warmer ties, Taiwan continued to be snubbed.

“We have been given unfriendly treatment during our pursuit of participation in international organizations or non-government organizations — even during our National Day galas held in countries that are not our allies,” he said.

“Do you think both sides have developed enough mutual trust?” Wu asked.

The premier also rejected a suggestion by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和) that Taiwan withdraw or reduce the number of troops on the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu as an olive branch to China.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), meanwhile, said it was the “stern request” of Taiwanese that China takes the initiative to remove its missiles.

“It is the common responsibility of both sides to stabilize the situation across the Taiwan Strait,” it said. “We will continue to build a sound environment through negotiations and exchanges. On the other hand, we must maintain our self-defense capabilities to ensure that we can continue to steadily develop cross-strait relations without any threat to our security.”

The Republic of China (ROC) is an independent sovereignty and the improvement of cross-strait relations is made possible under the framework of the ROC Constitution and on the basis of the “1992 consensus,” the MAC said.

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