Mainland Affairs Council Minister Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) yesterday said that political reform in China would facilitate cross-strait relations and help promote long-term peace in the Taiwan Strait.
Speaking at a symposium marking the 20th anniversary of the Straits Exchange Foundation, the semi-official body used to conduct negotiations with China, Lai said that while some problems remained intractable, Taipei would continue to seek dialogue with Beijing.
“The government realizes that we cannot solve fundamental disputes between the two sides and there are challenges ahead in the process of cross-strait reconciliation,” she said. “However, we will continue to communicate with China and seek a win-win situation.”
Also addressing the forum, American Institute in Taiwan Director William Stanton said the US supported increased cross-strait dialogue and closer relations between Taiwan and China, adding that it expected strong economic ties to help promote stability across the Taiwan Strait.
“We especially have welcomed the progress of the past three years and we will continue to support increased cross-strait dialogue that reduces tensions and promotes stability and prosperity,” Stanton said.
He said the dramatic transformation of cross-strait exchanges in the last three decades highlighted people-to-people interactions, some of which were unimaginable in the mid-1980s when he first visited Taiwan.
The US does not feel threatened or nervous about improving cross-strait ties, as a stable and secure relationship between Taiwan and China will have a positive impact on the region and the US, he said.
“In a world beset by uncertainty, upheaval and potential flashpoints — just look at the headlines from the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula — a peaceful and stable Taiwan Strait is, frankly speaking, a godsend,” he said.
Describing Taiwan as a “vibrant, thriving democracy whose citizens embrace the privilege and responsibility of participatory -government,” Stanton praised the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China, saying the economic pact would generate wealth and employment for people on both sides of the Strait.
Stanton reiterated the US’ unchanged position on its commitment to the three US-China Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act, and said the US would continue to act predictably and consistently in the trilateral relations.
Washington intends to keep working with Taiwan on the visa-waiver program, export control and arm sales and strongly supports Taiwan’s meaningful -participation in international organizations, Stanton said.
The US encourages Taiwan to further engage with China in the future “at a pace and scope politically approved by the people of Taiwan,” Stanton said.
Also at the symposium, Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) said Taiwan would open its market and economy further to China despite the enormous challenges ahead in cross-strait relations and said the two sides would engage in further negotiations on investment protection and a dispute settlement agreement in the aftermath of the ECFA signing.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA