President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he would never sell out Taiwan, while promising that an economic pact his administration wants to sign with Beijing next year would not allow more agricultural products or workers from China.
Ma made the remarks in a weekly video address in which he had a conversation with a village warden, Huang Hsien-yao (黃憲耀), of Chiayi County’s Minsyong Township (民雄). The video was made available on the Presidential Office’s Web site yesterday.
Huang said the two sides of the Strait have held four official talks, but he heard underground radio stations say that an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) the government wants to sign with Beijing would sell out Taiwan.
Ma said that when he was running for president, those radio stations also said the NT$6,000 monthly pension for senior farmers would disappear if he were elected.
“But now you see, they get it every month,” he said in Hoklo, or Taiwanese. “So I am asking the public to please trust me that what Ma Ying-jeou promises, he will deliver.”
Ma said that since he took office in May last year, he has not allowed any more Chinese agricultural products to enter Taiwan, adding that he would continue to protect the public’s interests.
“I will not sell out Taiwan. I will only sell Taiwan’s fruit,” he said.
Ma said the previous Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration allowed 479 agricultural products to be imported from China. Ma said the Democratic Progressive Party administration of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), however, allowed 936 more agricultural products to be imported from China, totaling 1,415. Since he took office about 19 months ago, he has not added a single item to that list, he said.
In other news, Ma yesterday visited Changhua County to attend the ground-breaking ceremony of the fourth expansion project of the Central Taiwan Science Park in Erlin (二林), bringing him face-to-face with protesting environmentalists.
The scene was a stark contrast to the tight security imposed by police during the visit of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) last week.
Holding banners and throwing ghost money, demonstrators said the construction project would make them homeless. Since there weren’t many protesters, they were not blocked by police officers.
Ma said the ground-breaking ceremony signified the government’s resolve to support the development of central Taiwan, adding that he hoped the park would help Changhua County become a technological leader.
Meanwhile, Ma yesterday expressed regret that People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) could not host a banquet for Chen, but said that cross-strait negotiations should be the focal point of Chen’s meeting with Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤).
Ma made the remarks in response to media inquiries about Soong’s complaint that the SEF was “not very skillful” in conveying Ma’s message that it was a bad idea for political parties to host banquets for Chen during his visit.