Thu, Apr 23, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Public supports extradition treaty: DPP

‘FIFTH FREEDOM’ The third round of cross-strait talks to begin this weekend may also include aviation rights and relaxing restrictions on Chinese capitalization

By Rich Chang, Ko Shu-ling and Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

A poll released by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday suggested that most people support Taiwan signing an extradition agreement with China.

DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said the poll, conducted by the DPP, found that 88.4 percent of the public favored an extradition agreement that would help Taiwan bring white-collar fugitives back from China.

The survey was conducted on Monday and Tuesday, with 1,062 samples.

Cheng said there are at least 85 white-collar criminals hiding in China, including former An Feng Group (安峰集團) president Chu An-hsiung (朱安雄), former president of the Kuangsan Enterprise Group (廣三集團) Tseng Cheng-jen (曾正仁) and a former employee of the prominent legal firm Lee and Li Attorneys-at-Law, Eddie Liu (劉偉杰).

Saying that the third round of cross-strait talks to begin on Friday includes an agreement on joint efforts to combat crime, Cheng said that if China is sincere about cooperating with Taiwan on combating crime, it should agree to sign the extradition treaty. Without one, the agreement is ­meaningless, he said.

Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and his Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) are scheduled to meet in Nanjing, China, from Friday to April 29.

In related news, Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) told reporters before she briefed the legislature’s Internal Administration Committee yesterday that the “fifth freedom of the air” would not be the focal point of the upcoming Chiang-Chen meeting.

The “fifth freedom of the air” refers to the right of airlines to carry passengers or cargo from a second country to a third country by stopping in the carrier’s own country.

Beijing has been reluctant to discuss the matter because Taiwan’s sovereignty is involved.

Civil Aeronautics Administration Director General Lee Lung-wen (李龍文) said on Tuesday that Beijing was not keen on talking about the issue.

“Negotiations take time,” Lai said yesterday. “They advance gradually in due order.”

MAC Deputy Minister Fu Don-cheng (傅棟成) said at a separate setting yesterday that the issue of the “fifth freedom of the air” might take years to negotiate and that it would be “impractical” to expect to see an immediate result, as both sides are in the process of normalizing charter flights and making them regular services.

Meanwhile, the Executive Yuan yesterday reviewed a set of draft measures aimed at allowing Chinese capital in the country, one of the four items on the agenda in the talks.

The draft proposal suggested relaxing the restrictions of Chinese capital by lifting the maximum proportion of a company’s capital that may come from China to 50 percent, an official with the Cabinet said on condition of anonymity.

Sensitive high-tech industries, public electricity and telecommunication networks would not be open to Chinese investment, the official said.

Separately, Financial ­Supervisory Commission Vice Chairwoman Lee Jih-chu (李紀珠) told a press conference at the Executive Yuan yesterday that a cross-strait financial cooperation agreement to be signed in the meeting would help pave the way for Taiwan and China to sign memorandums of understanding (MOU) on banking, insurance and securities and futures.

The signing of a cross-strait financial cooperation agreement would be the first step for those industries to enter the Chinese ­market, a prerequisite demanded by the Chinese authorities, Lee said.

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