Tue, Jan 11, 2005 - Page 2 News List

TSU slams KMT's charter flight negotiation initiative

NOT LEGAL The KMT's willingness to negotiate with China on direct flights is problematic, as it has not received government approval, TSU legislators say

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) does not have the right to represent the government in negotiations with China on the issue of Lunar New Year direct charter flights, and the Mainland Affairs Council should mete out discipline accordingly, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislators said yesterday.

"The KMT's efforts to push for charter flights for the Lunar New Year clearly shows its intention to establish a negotiation mechanism with the Communist Party and violates the Statute Governing the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例)," said TSU caucus whip Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘).

While the KMT has not been authorized by the government to negotiate the matter with Beijing, Chen said that the council should dish out punishment in accordance with the law.

The statue stipulates that the council can entrust a public service organization, which is "credible, professional and experienced," to help it handle cross-strait exchanges and related matters. The council also can, if necessary, authorize such an organization to sign an agreement on the government's behalf.

Violators can face a fine between NT$200,000 and NT$2 million. Serious or repeat offenders are subject to five years' imprisonment and/or a fine of up to NT$500,000.

Another TSU caucus whip, Huang Tsung-yuan (黃宗源), said that the KMT delegation owed the public an explanation of their credentials for the job.

"I'm very curious to know exactly whom they represent. Will they go [negotiate in China] as the nation's lawmakers or as an embassy of KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), or represent the pan-blue camp?" Huang asked.

"If they represent the pan-blue camp, I'd like to know why the People First Party (PFP) is left out of the loop," he said.

Huang also called on the KMT not to angle for political interest nor to dash the hopes of China-based Taiwanese businesspeople who just want to come home for the Lunar New Year.

Commenting on the TSU's likening the KMT's efforts to establish a "KMT-Communist negotiation mechanism," KMT Vice Chairman and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said that the criticism sounded "unduly strong."

"I think the KMT is involving itself in the negotiation process because it is worried about how effective a government-led negotiation would be," he said, adding that he knew nothing about the party's negotiation initiative.

Although the PFP has not been involved in the matter, the party's legislative caucus is gearing up for efforts to revamp the Statute Governing the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area in a bid to pave the way for direct transportation links across the Taiwan Strait.

The caucus is planning to include legal revisions in the legislative agenda during today's Procedure Committee meeting, with the hope to pass it to committees for review.

Under the PFP's draft amendments, the nation's ships, aircraft and other forms of transportation could go to China without first obtaining permission from the government.

The PFP is also seeking to abolish an article banning foreign vessels, aircraft and other forms of transportation from traveling directly across the Strait. The current rule also applies to those vehicles rented, invested in or managed by Chinese individuals or institutions.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) yesterday said that the government was happy to hear the Chinese government's positive reaction to the Lunar New Year charter flight plan.

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