Thu, Dec 02, 2004 - Page 2 News List

China's worries a self-imposed trap, MAC head says

LEGISLATIVE POLL Contrary to China's concerns, a pan-green majority would actually help the DPP to develop cross-strait relations, the MAC chairman said


China's fears of a pan-green majority in the legislature is a trap they set for themselves, according to Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) in an interview published in the Chinese-language China Review yesterday.

"It seems that China is very depressed about the possibility of a pan-green majority in the Legislative Yuan. This is a trap that China set for themselves in observing Taiwan's elections," Wu said, saying that China had always taken issue with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

"In actuality, a solid majority in the legislature will enable the DPP administration to better develop cross-strait ties," Wu said.

He also issued a subtle warning against any moves to influence the outcome of elections, saying that such moves often resulted in the opposite of what had been intended.

According to Wu, the pan-green camp is not likely to come away with a stunning majority given the number of candidates the party nominated to run for office.

"I do not think the pan-green camp will have a huge victory, taking 60 or 70 percent of the legislative seats ? the [pan-blue] camp will also not be faced with just 10 or 20 percent of the seats," Wu said.

"The greens may see some improvement, but the outcome will not be disproportionately in their favor," Wu predicted in the interview, downplaying the impact of the election results on cross-strait ties.

Regarding the possibility of negotiations with China after the legislative elections, Wu pointed to the need to set aside "space for [political] ambiguity." Wu said that the "space for ambiguity" should draw from the remarks that China's former vice-premier and long-time foreign minister Qian Qichen (錢其琛) had made between 2000 and 2002.

Qian in three separate remarks stated that the three direct links between Taiwan and China did not have to be a political problem, but could rather be treated as an economic issue. According to Wu, Qian stated in October 2002 that Taiwan did not have to recognize the "one China" principle in order for the links to be established.

The links refer to the opening of trade, postal and transport relations with China.

"If there was space for ambiguity, then both sides could declare victory without asking the other side to accept conditions almost sure to be rejected," Wu said.

"We are not in a place to be overly optimistic right now, but at the same time we have no right to be too pessimistic either," Wu said.

According to Wu, cross-strait policies previously articulated by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will receive further clarification after the Dec. 11 elections. Putting cross-strait issues at the center of pre-election debate could be detrimental to ties with China, he said.

Wu said that while preparations for the Committee for Cross-strait Peace and Development (兩岸和平發展委員會) were currently being conducted, the committee would not be officially launched until after the elections. He also pointed to a possible clarification, after the elections, of the structure and content of the "peace and stability framework" that Chen first proposed in February.

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