The various political parties reacted predictably yesterday to Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng's (王金平) proposal to reactivate a cross-strait task force mechanism and embark on an "ice-breaking journey" to China to help break the current cross-strait impasse.
Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), caucus whip of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said that the DPP welcomes anything that will be conducive to cross-strait peace.
However, if Wang wants to conduct the visit on behalf of the legislature, he should "exercise caution," Tsai said.
He said that Beijing had always tried to undermine Taiwan's sovereignty and said Wang should be alert that his status as a legislative speaker was not undermined by Beijing.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said it will support Wang's proposal to activate the cross-strait task force mechanism in the legislature and visit China.
KMT Legislator Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) claimed that Beijing has given up hope on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and that it was impossible for Beijing to ever resume talks with the Chen administration.
Judging from Chen's campaign theme in the 2004 presidential election, cross-strait relations will continue to be strained and Wang's advocacy of a cross-strait task force "comes in the nick of time," he said.
Tseng also said that cross-strait charter flights during the Lunar New Year are being organized by the KMT because Chen's government was incapable of doing the job.
The KMT has coordinated with six local air carriers to call on the Mainland Affairs Council to help set up charter services for Taiwanese businessmen operating in China and their dependents who wish to return to Taiwan for the holiday. The People First Party said that it will be pleased to see Wang lead a delegation to China.
Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄), the PFP caucus whip, said that the PFP will also send representatives to take part in the proposed cross-strait task force.
But the Taiwan Solidarity Union, an ally of the DPP, said it would be "inappropriate" to reactivate the cross-strait task force, which was first launched in 2000 but has been inactive ever since.
TSU caucus whip Huang Tsung-yuan (黃宗源) said that the proposed task force should be appointed by Chen and formed by the government rather than by the legislature.
If the task force is formed according to the ratio of legislative seats held by each party, he questioned whether it would represent the nation or just the legislature itself.