Fri, May 30, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Legislators blast cross-strait chat

COUNTERPRODUCTIVE A PFP legislator's videoconference with China has prompted criticism from DPP lawmakers, who say the move undermines Taiwan's WHO efforts

By Fiona Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP lawmakers yesterday questioned a PFP colleague's motive for hosting a second cross-strait videoconference on SARS after Beijing used the first exchange as evidence for its claim of supervising Taiwan's epidemic-containment effort.

"It is regrettable that Legislator Kao Ming-chien (高明見) hosted the second cross-strait televised conference on Tuesday. He obviously disregarded the fact that the Chinese authorities took the civil discussion to the international community as evidence it was fulfilling the responsibility to help Taiwan fight SARS while its delegation to the WHA tried anything to exclude the country at the UN health assembly," said DPP Legislator Chiu Chuang-chin (邱創進).

Chiu made the remarks at a press conference at which he and fellow DPP Legislator Chien Chao-tung (簡肇棟) said Kao and PFP Vice Chairman Chang Chao-hsiung (張昭雄) should be more careful about professional exchanges with China.

"We can conduct SARS-related consultations with experienced countries such as Vietnam and Singapore or with countries of advanced medical technology like the US. But cross-strait videoconferences should be halted until China ends its political hostility toward the island in the international arena," said Chien, a former hospital superintendent and a thoracic physician.

Chiu said he regretted the PFP lawmaker's decision to hold the videoconference.

"Instead of apologizing to people for his neglect in allowing Beijing to use the non-political SARS meeting to bar Taiwan from the WHA, Kao chose to prompt more conferences in the name of cross-strait collaboration," he said.

"His persistence in holding the second meeting was unreasonable since it was clear Beijing had designed a political interpretation of the televised consultation as cross-strait reconciliation," Chiu said.

Agreeing with Chiu, Chien warned the PFP lawmaker's moves could further China's goal of recapturing the nation.

"The videoconference is an example of China capitalizing on an issue and hurting our efforts to end Beijing's all-out suppression [of Taiwan] in the international arena," he said.

But PFP caucus whip Chiu Yi (邱毅) disagreed with Chien.

"It is improper to halt an exchange that will benefit people living on each side of the Taiwan Strait simply because the enemy used the action to suppress us in the political arena," Chiu said.

Kao said Taiwan could learn of other countries' experiences through such meetings.

"The epidemic hit Taiwan one month after it spread in China. The nation, however, saw the highest rate of infection of medical personnel among affected countries. I doubt the government has taken other countries' experiences [into account] for local containment," he said.

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