Mon, Jan 02, 2006 - Page 3 News List

MAC stresses nation's `core' interests

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The shift in the fundamental principle guiding the government's cross-strait economic policy, which was announced in the president's New Year speech yesterday, was based on the belief that the nation's core interests should take precedence over the demands of any individual business, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said.

The council issued a press release yesterday about President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) speech on cross-strait relations, which the pan-blue camp has pointed to as evidence that Chen intends to tighten up cross-strait policies.

The key change in Chen's cross-strait policy was the adoption of the principle "active management, effective opening" to replace the previous "active opening, effective management."

The "active opening, effective management" was a more open economic policy that was implemented by the Chen administration in 2001, replacing former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) more cautious "no haste, be patient" approach to China-bound investment.

But despite Chen's new phrase, the council said that there will be no major change in the government's cross-strait policies.

"Specifically speaking, `active management' is meant to guarantee the nation's economic autonomy and sustainable development. So it should be regarded as the groundwork of a `positive opening'," the council said in the press release.

The council said that it would be a distortion to describe Chen's new cross-strait policy as either "tightening up" or "opening up," because only if the management is effective can the government ensure that the "opening" benefits the whole nation.

Given that China hasn't changed its unreasonable attitude toward Taiwan, despite the demand for businesses to invest in China, the nation's core interests and overall economic strategy need to be taken into account, the council said.

The council added that some high-tech businesses, which had consulted with the government and obtained its permission before investing in China, had set a good example for the "active management, effective opening" policy.

The cooperation between the government and private business in "management" can also reduce the risks associated with "opening," the council said.

Meanwhile, it called on the Chinese government to resume official cross-strait negotiations, which were suspended by the Chinese side in 1999.

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