Sat, Oct 21, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Premier reiterates foundations of cross-strait policy

By Jimmy Chuang and Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday that the government strives to adopt a positive and open attitude and adheres to the principle of reciprocity in dealing with cross-strait issues, such as Chinese tourism and direct transport links.

"My attitude never changes, in terms of the government's policy toward lifting bans against Chinese tourists, the three links or Taiwanese banks' investment in China," Su said when asked by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Jih-chu (李紀珠) on the legislative floor whether the government would prioritize introducing the three links before the 2008 presidential election.

At the same session, Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) reiterated a past refrain that "it would be difficult to achieve that goal before the 2008 presidential election," but "not impossible."

"Liberalizing the three links has always been the government's policy. In addition, several agreements on the issue were achieved during the Conference on Sustaining Taiwan's Economic Development last summer, too. That explains the government's determination to keep pursuing this," Wu said.

`Always friendly'

Su said Taiwan is always friendly toward China. The problem is that China never treats Taiwan's government as a sovereign authority since issues like the links need to be discussed and negotiated between governments.

"They are always unfriendly when it comes to this issue. This is not good," Su said.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the Ministry of the Interior on Thursday issued operating guidelines for an amendment to the Statute Governing Relations Between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) to allow certain civil servants ranked grade 10 or below and police officers ranked level 4 or below to visit China.

Restricted

All civil servants as well as personnel in the Ministry of Defense, the Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Bureau were restricted from traveling to China by the statute prior to the amendment, which was promulgated last July.

According to the guidelines, the new categories of civil servants and officers are eligible to apply to their respective agencies to visit China at least a week before departure.

A recent ministry press release said that such personnel were not permitted to reveal confidential information or otherwise compromise national security interests while in China, and that violators would be punished accordingly.

"[Civil servants and police officers visiting China] must... safeguard against leaking confidential documents, photographs or visual aids, information or physical objects," the release said.

MAC Vice Chairman Johnnason Liu (劉德勳) told reporters in a press conference yesterday that although the amendment was not agency-specific, applicants would be evaluated based on whether their work pertained to state secrets or other confidential matters, as well as their rank.

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