Sat, Mar 17, 2012 - Page 1 News List

China accuses MAC of being ‘passive’

BRISTLING DEFENSE:MAC officials said the government was stabilizing cross-strait relations slowly, while legislators said Taiwanese rejected any ‘united front’ rhetoric

By Chen Hui-ping and Tseng Wei-chen  /  Staff Reporters, with CNA

Following the Mainland Affairs Council’s (MAC) refusal to endorse an economic development project on a Chinese island touted by Beijing as an “experimental zone” for joint development by Taiwan and China, Beijing yesterday slammed the council for “often playing a passive role in the development of cross-strait negotiations.”

“We do not wish to comment on every word uttered by the MAC, but we feel that the council too often plays a passive role in the development of cross-strait relations,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Yang Yi (楊毅) said yesterday.

Yang was apparently referring to the position announced by the council on Thursday, in which it said China should refrain from political overtures when promoting cross-strait cooperation on Pingtan Island, where the Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone is being developed by China’s Fujian Provincial Government as a pilot area for cross-strait cooperation.

“What they [the Chinese authorities] want to do in the Pingtan area is their own business. It has nothing to do with [Taiwanese] government policy,” MAC Deputy Minister Kao Charng (高長) said on Thursday.

China had given too much of a political overtone to the Pingtan project, which was designed in accordance with its “12th five-year plan” that handles cross-strait relationships under the principle of the “one country, two systems” formula, MAC spokesman Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) added, saying that more than 80 percent of Taiwanese reject such a formula.

MAC official Lu Chang-shui (盧長水) said yesterday that it was the mutual goal of both sides to build a more solid base on which win-win cross-strait relations could be achieved.

The government was taking the process slowly in order to stabilize cross-strait relations, Lu said, adding: “The MAC has always worked toward our goal on this basis, and there is no problem of it being passive or active. We hope that both sides of the strait cherish the hard-won results of recent years.”

The council also has a different take on Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Wang Yi’s (王毅) recent comment on pro-Taiwan independence forces.

Addressing the 10th Cross-strait Relations Forum on Thursday in China’s Yunnan Province, Wang said China placed great emphasis on contact and interaction with Taiwanese.

“We must encourage our brethren on both sides of the Strait to reinforce the recognition that we are one ethnic group and continue to purge the remnants of dangerous thoughts of pro-Taiwanese independence from the educational and cultural sectors,” he said.

Commenting on Wang’s remarks regarding “purging the remnants of danger posed by pro-Taiwanese independence thoughts,” Liu said that as Taiwan is a democratic and dynamic society: “We do not have such a problem.”

Wang’s comments were met with scathing rebuttals by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers, saying such reactionary “united front” (統戰) rhetoric is unacceptable to Taiwanese.

“If China cannot yet accept that there are two countries across the Strait and is still living in its own world, the cross-strait psychological distance will only grow, whilst the Taiwanese will only distrust the Chinese government more,” DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said.

TSU Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) said that a Taiwan--centric view is deeply rooted in the hearts of all Taiwanese and if China still desires interaction, Taiwan would be glad to share with China the experiences and value of liberty and democracy.

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