Fri, Aug 15, 2003 - Page 3 News List

MAC will publish direct transportation links report

By Roger Liu  /  STAFF REPORTER

In a bid to fulfill President's Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) proposal on better cross-strait relations, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) is scheduled to publish the Assessment Report on the Impact of Direct Cross-Strait Transportation (兩岸直航之影響評估報告) today.

"This is a basic document regulating the future implementation of direct cross-strait transportation," said MAC Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

"The government would like to do consensus-building in this nation by issuing this document," Tsai said.

"We hope to make a unified consensus among different political parties and people in this nation before the talks begin."

"We firmly declare that talks should not be carried out under any political prerequisite, and we insist that they be done following the principle that this nation's status be respected in a equal way," Tsai said.

Direct transportation will be the catalyst and the prelude of a completely normalized trade relationship between Taiwan and China, said the report.

Tsai reiterated the government stance -- "one country on either side of the Strait" -- if talks on direct links are be conducted in the future.

"Our bottom line is that the ROC is a sovereign, independent nation, not belonging to the PRC," said Tsai. "This is a statement of fact, not a political premise."

China always blurs technical problems with political issues, and this is the factor that has stalled action on direct links, she said.

She said immediately after the presidential election next year would be the best time to kick off the talks, "because barriers in real politics [on both sides of the Strait] will be removed then."

"But before the talks begin, both sides should generate momentum on relative issues first, and they have to be willing to exclude political issues from the talks and build a consensus in advance," she said.

"If there is a will, there is a way," Tsai said. "If China wants to start the talks now, we would welcome such a gesture."

The report, which completely lists the pros and cons of future direct links between Taiwan and China, is divided into seven chapters.

The first chapter defines the relationship between direct transportation (直航), which includes flights and shipments, and direct links (三通), which includes trade and communications issues as well -- which the government defines as "the normalization of cross-strait trade relations."

The second chapter analyzes what economic impact the direct link policy would have on the nation's trade, investment, industry, and the total economic development of Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific region.

The third part mainly focuses on security problems, including those of national defense, social and political security issues, and international relations, while the fourth chapter discusses pertinent technical questions.

Taiwan's economic development, national security costs, sovereignty, and political consensus are four crucial issues the MAC stresses in the fifth chapter.

Related policies, negotiation principles and prerequisites are put in the sixth chapter, and the last chapter is the conclusion.

There is no relation between this report and the presidential election next year, Tsai said.

"Issues concerning direct links are professional. We don't want our professionalism to be blurred by politics," she said.

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