Sat, Jun 12, 2004 - Page 2 News List

MAC defends spouse plan

CNA , TAIPEI

A Mainland Affairs Council official said yesterday that a "pre-warning system" will not only target Chinese spouses of Taiwanese.

Council Vice Chairman Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) made the remarks in response to a newspaper report that the government plans to set up a "warning system" for spouses from China.

According to a local Chinese-language newspaper, the Council for Economic Planning and Development proposed the system during a report to Premier Yu Shyi-kun on Thursday, hoping to limit the number of Chinese spouses to 16 percent of the deficit in average population growth between 2000 and 2002, or roughly 9,000, according to its estimate.

Liu said the system will not only target Chinese spouses but is aimed instead at establishing a mechanism for stable population growth in this country.

He noted that in recent years, the birthrate has dropped lower and lower, a situation he described as "worrisome."

When the government plans its population and immigration policies, it is obliged to think about the inbound population, and Chinese spouses are only a part of the whole picture, he added.

He said government agencies did not discuss only spouses from China, but also talked about establishing a standard for stable population growth.

If the population falls below this standard, then the "pre-warning system" will be put in place, he said.

He added that if the population drops, the government will try to raise the birthrate and try to increase the number of foreign nationals in the hope that the number of arrivals who can invest or have high-tech or other professional skills will also increase.

He pointed out that during Thursday's discussion most of those present asked the government to deal with the falling birthrate issue, as well as the issue of providing assistance to new immigrants and ways to deal with a graying society.

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