Kinmen County may not be able to establish a representative office in China any time soon after the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday that it has no immediate plan to amend the law to allow such a move.
Deputy Mainland Affairs Council Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said the Act Governing Relations between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) does not allow local governments to establish offices in China and the council has no plans to amend the law.
Liu’s comment came in response to the Kinmen County Government’s request that the central government allow it to set up a representative office in Xiamen, Fujian Province, so it can offer assistance to its Chinese counterparts and those taking advantage of the small three links.
Lin Cheng-cha (林振查), director of Kinmen’s Transportation and Tourism Bureau, said the central government must pay attention to the increase in travel between Kinmen and China brought by the small three links, which began in January 2001.
More than 213,000 entries were recorded between Kinmen and Xiamen in the first year alone, he said, and the number reached 1 million this year.
Lin urged the government to take a practical approach to the matter, noting that more than 20,000 Kinmen residents are either working or living in China.
Since other local governments are also interested in establishing offices in China, Lin said it would be a good idea to let Kinmen or Matsu go first.
While President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) believes that the “mainland area” is part of the Republic of China’s territory, the reality is that the two regions have been governed by two different political entities since 1949, Lin said.
Meanwhile, MAC thanked the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday for conducting its most recent forum with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The Democratic Progressive Party has criticized the forums because it says the KMT and CCP are setting the cross-strait negotiation agenda rather than the government.
The council said it welcomed any constructive exchanges legally conducted by individuals, private associations or political groups that improve the development of cross-strait relations.
However, the most recent forum was “an unofficial channel that was not authorized by the government and cannot make any decision for the administration,” the council said.