Mon, Mar 16, 2009 - Page 3 News List

MAC official plays down ECFA fears

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Another panelist, Lu Shih-hsiang (盧世祥), said Taiwan’s sovereignty was unlikely to be safeguarded even if the economic pact Taipei and Beijing agreed upon followed WTO guidelines.

Lu, a veteran business reporter and adviser to the Taipei Times, said the ECFA the government sought to sign would pave the way for political integration of both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

While Beijing has clearly set “one China” as the precondition for inking the pact, the government self-deceivingly interpreted “one China” as the Republic of China, Lu said.

“It is very difficult to save someone who delivers himself into China’s hands,” he said. “The government has revealed its bottom-line even before both sides sit down and talk. It is like ‘catching fish in a tree’ to expect the administration to protect [Taiwan’s] national status and pride.”

Lu said while China’s suppression was the main reason behind the country’s failed attempts to sign FTAs with other WTO members, the government had turned to Beijing and proclaimed that China was the savior of the country’s economy.

“China will definitely make endless exorbitant demands,” he said. “They might dish out some small favors, but they are meant for bigger profits in the long run.”

Lu said there was no guarantee that Taiwan’s sovereignty and rights would be protected even if the agreement was signed under the framework of the WTO. Hong Kong signed a closer economic partnership arrangement with China in 2003, but the special administrative region enjoys little dignity or status, he said.

While Ma has dismissed public concern over the depreciation of sovereignty as “unnecessary anxiety,” Lu said Ma, as the head of state, was naive and short-sighted in making such remarks.

“It is what we call the ‘frog-boiling effect’,” he said. “By the time we realize the seriousness of the situation it’ll be too late.”

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