The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday said the government was not ready to engage in political negotiations with Beijing.
MAC Deputy Chairman Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said both sides could only move forward by taking advantage of the institutionalized negotiation mechanism and adopting a practical attitude to strengthen mutual trust. Only by doing so could both sides discuss more complicated and difficult matters, he said.
“We don’t have immediate plans to conduct negotiations on political issues with China,” he said.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi (王毅) told the World Journal in the US that despite the consensus that both sides tackle the easier, more urgent and economic issues before moving toward more difficult, less pressing and political ones, many political issues had been addressed, including Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly this year as an observer.
Wang said these experiences had paved the way for resolving more difficult cross-strait problems.
Liu said Wang might have been attempting to remind both sides that there are not only economic questions, but also political matters that need to be addressed.
The upcoming fourth round of cross-strait talks between the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait will focus on economic matters and will not include political issues, Liu said.
Wang also told the World Journal that the Taiwan question was in essence a domestic problem for China and that it should be jointly addressed by the two sides through negotiation.
In response, Liu said that each side of the Strait had different interpretation of what the Taiwan question meant.
For now, both sides should put aside differences and create a win-win situation, Liu said, adding that all political issues should be dealt with after two sides have accumulated sufficient mutual trust.
At a separate setting yesterday, SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) said the SEF would need authorization from the MAC if were to negotiate on political matters.
The fourth round of talks will be held in Taiwan sometime this year. The two sides will address fishing industry cooperation, quality checks of agricultural products, cross-strait cooperation in inspection and certification and the prevention of double taxation, among other issues.
The economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) that the government has proposed to sign with Beijing will not be on the agenda.
In April, the two sides signed three agreements on the launch of regular cross-strait passenger flights, judicial assistance and cross-strait cooperation to fight crime, and financial cooperation. The agreements will take effect tomorrow.