Mon, Dec 13, 2004 - Page 4 News List

MAC predicts few post-poll changes

CONTINUITY A MAC official said the ball was still in China's court on Lunar New Year flights, and that the US likely sees a pan-blue victory as a stabilizing effect

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER WITH CNA

While Beijing is not expected to remark on Saturday's elections until Wednesday at the earliest, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday that ties with China and the US would not be much affected by the election results.

Chinese authorities have remained mum on the subject of the elections, but a routine press conference at the Taiwan Affairs Office on Wednesday morning is expected to be the first opportunity officials may take to comment on the matter.

Council Vice Chairman Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) stressed yesterday during a forum that cross-strait economic development would not be affected by the election results.

"With regard to economic policies, there won't be delays in implementation as a result of a pan-blue or pan-green win. Beijing has been responsive in furthering cross-strait exchange in certain areas," Chiu said. "For example, the Taiwan Affairs Office has already authorized landing visas in designated cities. They've also opened the door to tourism in Kinmen and Matsu."

He stressed that these economic policies were for the most part authorized by Beijing on a case-by-case basis and highlighted that the results of Saturday's elections would not change this.

On the political side of cross-strait ties, Chiu pointed out that the election results would bring no change to the basic tenets that underlie cross-strait relations and as such would be unlikely to dramatically alter the status quo.

"Relations across the Taiwan Strait will not be altered because of this election," Chiu said. "The international community has already thrown its support behind President Chen Shui-bian's [陳水扁] `four noes.' With this fundamental political stance unchanged, it is unlikely that China will have an aggressive reaction to the elections."

With regards to ties with the US, Chiu said that the US would see the opposition party's majority in the legislature as a check on the ruling party's policies and as such view the election result as a stabilizing factor. He also stressed that the Taiwan Relations Act would continue to be the basis for relations with the US and predicted little change in the near future.

With the elections out of the way, it is expected that China will respond to Taiwan's invitation to negotiate the details of charter flights for the Lunar New Year, but the MAC yesterday refrained from elaborating on prospects for flights. Chiu said only that Beijing's responses on the matter in the days before the election had deliberately left room for them to maneuver.

"Whether these flights are a possibility is up to China now," Chiu said.

Pressed as to whether there was an absolute deadline after which the flights would be technically impossible given the lack of time for preparation, Chiu refused to give a date. He explained that the complexity of the issue would depend on what China's response was and the concerns that they had. He reiterated that Taiwan was fully prepared to implement the flights and was waiting only for China's reaction and cooperation.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the US Department of State said yesterday the just-concluded legislative elections in Taiwan demonstrated the strength and vitality of Taiwan's democracy.

The spokesperson said the elections showed that the people of Taiwan, like Americans, cherish the right to choose their representatives, and this is a tribute to the Taiwanese people.

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