Wed, Dec 24, 2008 - Page 3 News List

KMT legislator defends forums with CCP

CRITICISM Both the DPP caucus and some KMT lawmakers have voiced concern that the forums have usurped the role of government-to-government contacts

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Chang Sho-wen (張碩文) defended last weekend’s KMT-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forum yesterday, saying that anyone or any organization that strives to ensure the “happiness of the people” deserves credit.

Chang was responding to criticism from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus that the forum had replaced the government in cross-strait negotiations.

DPP caucus whip William Lai (賴清德) said cross-strait talks should proceed within a government-to-government framework, rather than a party-to-party mechanism.

The direct transportation links and the arrival of the two pandas would not have been made possible without the KMT-CCP forum, adding that although the forum was a platform between the two parties, it had made numerous “constructive” contributions to cross-strait relations, Chang said.

He praised KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) and former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰), who both attended the Shanghai forum, which wrapped up on Monday.

Two KMT lawmakers, however, supported Lai’s view.

Legislators Shyu Jong-shyoung (徐中雄) and Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) said a non-governmental channel was no longer important since exchanges between officials from Taiwan and China had resumed.

Chang rebuffed his colleagues’ criticism.

“We think it [the forum] could end after both sides of the Taiwan Strait sign a peace agreement,” he said.

Meanwhile, KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) dismissed media speculation that the government would disregard the forum’s resolutions.

The government needs time to evaluate results of the forum, she said.

The forum came up with nine suggestions, including increasing the number of cross-strait charter flights from 108 per week to 168 during the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on Jan. 25.

During the forum, Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi (王毅) said that Chinese banking institutions, including the China Development Bank, the Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, would be authorized to increase the size of the loans and credit services they can offer to China-based Taiwanese enterprises to help them weather any difficulties they might face during the current economic downturn.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA

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