Sat, May 10, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Grow up, DPP tells KMT over flights

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will not be too harsh on the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) if the much-anticipated weekend direct charter flight services across the Taiwan Strait do not start on July 4 as president-elect Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has promised, a DPP legislative caucus whip said yesterday.

Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) urged the KMT, which will take the reins of government on May 20, to “grow up” and “learn something,” saying that if the KMT had any sense, it would not make promises too readily on the matter.

Saying that cross-strait issues are not controlled solely by Taiwan, Yeh said that the KMT would gradually become aware that the DPP has done its best to improve cross-strait relations.

“The KMT will soon realize that it will also face difficulties when dealing with China,” Yeh said.

Launching direct cross-strait charter flights in July was one of Ma’s campaign promises.

A source from the KMT said bilateral talks on the technical details surrounding the charter flights have already been completed, but China held sway on the sensitive political aspects of the talks.

Since Ma named Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛), a former lawmaker of the pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union, as head of the Mainland Affairs Council, Beijing’s leaders have been watching Ma’s China policy line closely, the source said.

A major point of evaluation for China will be Ma’s inaugural speech, he said, adding that Ma was expected to expound on his vision for China policy and action guidelines in the address.

Aside from the inaugural speech, another litmus test for the prospects of cross-strait ties will be whether KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) would be able to visit China before July as scheduled.

If he managed to do so, it would be a good sign that cross-strait charter flights could start by July 4, the source said.

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