Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers have proposed an amendment to the Act Governing Relations between the Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) that would allow mayors and county commissioners to visit China without seeking permission.
The proposal, initiated by KMT legislators Chu Fong-chi (朱鳳芝), Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠) and others, would also lift cross-strait travel restrictions on high-ranking public servants and police officers.
The Act requires senior public servants, senior police officers and officials of various agencies related to national security to apply with the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) for approval to travel to China.
It also requires mayors and commissioners to obtain approval from a committee of officials from the MOI, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and the National Security Bureau (NSB) before visiting China.
Chu said the restrictions make trips to China inconvenient and ineffective for mayors and county commissioners.
Mayors and county commissioners could promote Taiwan’s agricultural products, tourism, business and culture in China, she said, adding that their posts did not concern issues of national security.
The proposal says that only officials from the Ministry of National Defense, the NSB, the MOJ’s Investigation Bureau and public servants working with national security issues should be restricted from visiting China.
The legislature’s Internal Administration Committee is scheduled to review the amendment on Wednesday.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said it opposed the amendment.
Senior officials could leak information on national security if they make frequent visits to China without restrictions, DPP caucus whip Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) said.
Lee said that in a number of cases, government officials from various agencies had been charged with spying for China.
“The proposed amendment would hurt Taiwan’s national interests and put the county in danger,” Lee said. “Such an amendment is irresponsible because it was proposed without a thorough review of its potential impact on national security.”
In related news, former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday disagreed on communication between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
While Lu said she was in favor of abolishing the party-to-party platform, Wang said it remained essential.
The two made the remarks at a fundraising event in Taipei.
Wang said the KMT and CCP had both been founded in China and had been at odds for a long time. Now they have begun interacting and set up a platform that serves as a buffer and a preliminary communication channel, he said.
Lu said she could not know whether any secret deals were being made between the KMT and CCP, but that the KMT could not represent the government or President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in negotiating.