Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Tsai reaffirms willingness to hold talks with Beijing

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter, with CNA

Democratic Progresive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen, center, has her photograph taken with supporters at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday after returning from the Philippines.

Photo: CNA

Seeking to assuage apprehensions about the future of cross-strait relations, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday reaffirmed her party’s willingness to hold talks with Beijing.

Concluding a three-day visit to the Philippines, Tsai made the remarks during a breakfast meeting with reporters.

The DPP, she said, was willing to sit down with China to discuss proposals for building a “feasible and viable” interaction framework between the two sides, adding that the talks would not come at the expense of the DPP’s political values and principles.

Tsai said she “welcomes [Chinese] officials to visit the DPP’s headquarters or its think tank,” referring to the New Frontier Foundation, where recent talks with foreign experts have been held.

“The DPP’s door is wide open with regards to China. We hope that through more interaction we can increase our mutual knowledge of one another and lower to the minimum any risks of a misunderstanding,” she said.

Tsai said that if the DPP regained the presidency next year, its cross-strait policy would be more transparent and involve more input from the public.

The legislature would also be given a chance to monitor such agreements, she said.

A former Mainland Affairs Council chairperson, Tsai also defended the consistency of her China policies.

Critics have accused her of holding ideas that are less than pragmatic and seeking to isolate Taiwan from Beijing, despite a booming Chinese market. She has also been accused of being unclear on how the DPP would handle the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, a trade deal signed with China in June last year.

“I have always been very clear on how I handle cross-strait relations. Some people believe that I’m unclear only because they have purposely not closely studied my [policies],” Tsai said.

Tsai also addressed the dispute over the Spratly Islands (南沙群島) — the rich fishing grounds claimed in part by Taiwan, China, Brunei, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia — during her morning discussion.

Taiwan, she said, needed to make clear its separateness with China, especially on sovereignty over the islands. She remained non-committal on whether Taiwan should work together with its cross-strait neighbor to resolve sovereignty disputes.

“Taiwan has its own motives on the Spratly Islands dispute — and the basis of that is Taiwanese sovereignty — separate from China,” she said.

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