Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) denied yesterday that the government had set a timetable for unification in 2016.
“I do not have any knowledge of and have never heard of such a timetable,” Liu said in response to questions from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Ching-chih (吳清池) during the legislature’s plenary session.
Wu asked Liu if President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government had drawn up plans to seek unification with China in 2016 as Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) had implied in recent remarks.
Huang has told reporters that he believed China would refrain from raising sensitive political issues during Ma’s current term and do its best to help Ma win reelection in 2012.
Then Beijing could begin pressuring Ma after 2012 to move toward unification in 2016, which would be the final year of Ma’s second term in office, Huang said.
Liu told Wu he did not understand why Huang would make such statements.
Despite Liu’s comments, Wu urged the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Security Bureau (NSB) to investigate if such a timetable was stipulated in any confidential documents.
Liu also told Wu that the government had not drawn up any timetable for a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA) with China, either.
The government’s plan to pursue a CECA with China has sparked a public uproar as activists fear the administration could compromise Taiwan’s sovereignty and move one step closer to unification.
“The Mainland Affairs Council and the Ministry of Economic Affairs are discussing details of the plan,” Liu said.
Liu also apologized to the public again for the rising unemployment rate, but his apology did not stop Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator William Lai (賴清德)from paralyzing the plenary session.
“I hereby apologize to you [and the public] for failing to accomplish things we promised,” Liu said.
He then lashed out at opposition lawmakers who refused to allow him to brief the legislature on Friday about the government’s special budget request for public work investment unless the premier apologized for the poor state of the economy.
“The opposition demanded to be allowed to screen the wording of my apology [before I could brief the legislature]. This was totally unreasonable. No premier would take an insult such as this,” Liu said.
Unhappy with Liu’s answer, Lai refused to leave the podium after his allotted 15-minute question-and-answer session was over.
He paralyzed the plenary session for about an hour and efforts by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to mediate were unsuccessful.