Chinese premier talks cross-strait links

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Mar 16, 2015 - Page 1

At a news conference after the closing of China’s annual National People’s Congress legislative session in Beijing yesterday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) promised that China would prioritize Taiwan as Beijing opens to the world, and that it would continue to protect the interests of Taiwanese businesses in China.

“We will continue to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan-funded enterprises and Taiwan businesspeople on the mainland, and provide proper preferential policies to them,” Li said, when asked to comment on problems that Taiwanese businesses encounter in China.

To enhance cross-strait economic cooperation, Li said that “two wheels should be put in motion.”

“One is to enhance institution-building, for example, to continue to pursue follow-up talks on the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, and the other wheel is about further mutual opening-up,” he said.

However, Li said that such economic cooperation should be built on political foundations.

“People on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are members of one big family, as long as we continue to adhere to the ‘one China’ principle and the ‘1992 consensus,’ to oppose the Taiwan independence movement, and uphold peaceful development for cross-strait relations,” the premier said.

The so-called “1992 consensus,” a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted he had fabricated in 2000, refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Beijing that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation.

Li also extended his invitation to young Taiwanese — who have drawn Beijing’s attention since the Sunflower movement last year — to start businesses in China.

“We welcome people from Taiwan businesses, particularly young people, to pursue their careers in the mainland, and enhance personnel exchanges,” Li said, which would help to “bring the hearts and minds of people on both sides of the Strait even closer to each other.”

The Mainland Affairs Council released a statement in response to Li’s remarks.

“The ‘1992 consensus,’ which allows both sides of the Taiwan Strait to make its own interpretation on ‘one China,’ is the foundation for institutionalized cross-strait interactions and exchanges,” the council said. “We call on China to face reality in cross-strait relations, fully understand Taiwanese people’s views and push for realistic, peaceful and stable developments between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.”

The council also recognized China’s recent reform efforts, adding that it expects China to show its determination about the reforms — while allowing citizens to participate — to enhance life for people on both sides of the Strait, it added.