The nation's top policymaker on relations with China, Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛), yesterday was evasive on the prospects for cross-strait relations, except to say that the administration was "cautiously confident" of achieving its goal of commencing weekend direct charter flights and allowing more Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan by July.
Speaking at a press conference for foreign journalists, Lai said China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) has sent a “clear message of Beijing’s good will” to realize the July goals.
“Taiwan will do whatever it takes to make the goals happen,” she said, adding that the government had undertaken the necessary steps to facilitate cross-strait negotiations on the issue. She refused to elaborate on whether any concessions had been made during the process.
Lai said she would not rule out visiting China during her time in office, if the visit was based on the principles of “dignity, equality and necessity,” and that Chen was welcome to visit Taiwan in the future.
But so far no plans had been made for any visit, she said.
When asked about the possibility of allowing China’s Xinhua news agency and the People’s Daily to dispatch permanent correspondents to Taiwan, Lai said the Mainland Affairs Council “does not object,” but would consult with the Government Information Office.
Correspondents from Xinhua and the People’s Daily were asked to leave in 2005 when Beijing passed its “Anti-Secession” Law, which authorizes the use of force if Taiwan moves toward de jure independence.
Lai, the only member of the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) in the predominantly pro-unification Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration said that “Taiwan’s independence is not an illusion” because the Republic of China — the nation’s official designation — is a “sovereign, independent country.”