Wed, Mar 25, 2009 - Page 3 News List

ECFA will divide society: Tsai

THE CASE AGAINST Tsai Ing-wen said the DPP is opposed to a treaty signed under the so-called 'one China' framework and any measures that would lead to a loss of jobs

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday that serious divisions could develop in society if government exchanges with Beijing are carried out without transparency and under the so-called “one China” principle.

Tsai, who took a three-day trip to Japan last week, urged the US and Tokyo to pay closer attention to Taiwan’s relations with China.

She said there were some in Washington and Tokyo that were happy that cross-strait relations had improved under President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, but opinion polls, including those conducted by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government, have shown between 60 percent and 70 percent of the public oppose unification with China.

If Taiwan were to sign an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China or agree to participate in World Health Assembly (WHA) activities by accepting Beijing’s “one China” principle or the so-called “1992 consensus” (one China, with each side having its own interpretation), then society would be seriously divided, Tsai told foreign correspondents at DPP headquarters.

Tsai said Ma’s pro-China policies may make the nation unstable and unstable cross-strait relations could lead to instability in the whole of East Asia.

She said the DPP’s position on the signing of an ECFA with China was clear — it demands full transparency during the negotiation process. But the DPP is opposed to any treaty signed under the “one China” framework and the party opposes any economic treaty with China that would lead to a serious loss of jobs in Taiwan.

“Taiwan is able to sign an agreement of this kind with China, but not with its other major trading partners. China’s strategy will leave Taiwan with no other option. It’s part of their political agenda,” Tsai said.

She said the government had only highlighted the economic benefits of such a treaty, but had not mentioned that the treaty would seriously hurt domestic manufacturers and the agricultural sector.

With the likelihood of 2,309 previously restricted Chinese agricultural products entering Taiwan following the signing of an ECFA, the DPP estimates that 4 million jobs would be under threat, Tsai said.

In unrelated news, Tsai said the party would decide on its candidate for December’s Tainan County commissioner election before the end of the month.

She said the ability to win the election and promote the younger generation in the party were the principles for the nomination process.

Tsai’s remark may indicate that the party would not appoint former minister of foreign affairs and former Presidential Office secretary-general Mark Chen (陳唐山), who has said he would enter the race whether the party chooses him or not.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

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