Fri, Aug 15, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet plans for links: Yu

IN THE WORKS The premier said that Chen Shui-bian's administration has been preparing a map for implementing direct transportation links for two years

CNA , TAIPEI

Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday that the administration has made preparations for coping with the opening of direct transportation links across the Taiwan Strait.

As the direct cross-strait transportation links plan has been under consideration by the administration for two years, the Executive Yuan has mapped out policies and measures for coping with the needs that are expected to arise once direct links are opened, Yu said.

Major features of the plan include measures to sharpen the competitive edge of Taiwan's business and industrial sectors; ways to enable the industrial sectors of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to fairly share their manufacturing niches in a complementary way; and methods to prevent Taiwan's job market from being compromised under the impact of the opening of direct links, Yu said.

Yu's remarks came on the heels of an announcement made by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) Wednesday that he will see to it that direct transportation links are implemented by the end of next year.

Meanwhile, Presidential Office Secretary General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) said yesterday that relations between Taiwan and China will be better after next year's presidential election.

Chen said the three steps are "preparation, negotiation and realization," adding that the first step is already going on, the second step will begin after the presidential election and the third step will be realized sometime before the end of next year.

Chiou said that Chen is sure that cross-strait relations will improve.

Chen said he is sure of that he will be re-elected next year, saying that Beijing, regardless of whether it likes a president from the DPP, which has in the past advocated a pro-independence stance, will have to deal with him for another four years, according to Chiou.

Second, the president said that cross-strait relations have been going smoothly over the past three years, adding that although verbal exchanges may be tense, cross-strait relations have in reality seen more progress during his administration than during the KMT's administration.

Chen noted that his administration has done everything it can within its power to improve cross-strait relations, saying that it has implemented 17 related measures, or almost one new measure every two months, since coming to power. He cited the examples of direct links between Kinmen and Matsu and two ports in Fujian, as well as working rights for Chinese women married to Taiwanese.

Third, Chiou said, Beijing and Taipei under the Chen administration, after more than three years of dealing with each other, have accumulated some experience in this regard.

Although the "one country" principle cherished by Beijing has hindered the development of cross-strait relations, he said, the two sides have actually had close enough contact with each other to be able to see the completion of aviation agreement talks between Taiwan and Hong Kong and to conduct illegal immigrant repatriation operations, among other things.

Fourth, Chiou said, China has also been making some adjustments in dealing with the government . For example, Beijing originally insisted that the issue of direct transportation links was an "internal matter," but last year, China's then vice premier, Qian Qichen (錢其琛), used the term cross-strait routes in referring to the direct transportation links.

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