Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday that recently established direct links with China could have a negative impact on Taiwan’s economy and urged the government not to overlook this.
Tsai made the comments after visiting a temple in Taipei to pray for peace and prosperity.
While conceding that direct cross-strait links could help decrease travel time and costs across the Strait, she urged the government not to be overly optimistic about the possible advantages and said that Taiwan’s economy could suffer and unemployment could continue to rise as a result of the links.
“It is contradictory for the government to try to protect the Republic of China’s national sovereignty and dignity under the framework of the direct cross-strait links,” she said.
Taiwan must devise comprehensive measures to deal with complications related to unemployment and national security, she said.
“Only when across-the-board countermeasures have been fully implemented could long-term benefits be derived from cross-strait links,” she said.
Turning to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) New Year’s speech, in which he called for all Taiwanese to work together to improve the economy, Tsai said the DPP had no particular stance on the issue, but she reminded the president that it was the government’s responsibility to create job opportunities for future generations rather than leave them with growing debts.
Tsai said the DPP would help lead Taiwan out of its current woes and explore new ways to improve the nation through social activities.
On Taiwan-China relations, Tsai reiterated her Taiwan-centric position and urged the government to exercise caution in its exchanges with China.
“Taiwan should never harbor wishful thinking regarding China because Beijing has never softened its position regarding Taiwan, especially on the issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty,” she said.
On Chinese President Hu Jintao’s (胡錦濤) suggestion on Tuesday that Taiwan and China could discuss the establishment of a mechanism to build military trust with a view to ending hostilities between the two sides, Tsai urged the government to cautiously gauge the proposal because military issues were just one aspect of the two-way relationship.