Mon, Apr 26, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Ma, Tsai lock horns in ECFA debate

This is Part I of the question-and-answer section of yesterday’s televised debate between President Ma Ying-jeou and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen on the proposed economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) the government plans to sign with China

Transcribed By Mo Yan-chih and Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen speaks during a televised debate with Taiwan President and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou over the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) at the Taiwan Public Television station in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: CHI CHIH-HSIANG, REUTERS

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九,asking question): Chairperson Tsai, in a speech at National Tunghua University on March 15, you mentioned that the DPP had performed well in recent elections because the party appealed to voters that are feeling insecure. Two years ago, the DPP stressed that if I were elected president, Taiwanese men would find no job, women would find no husband and our children would perform military service in Heilongjiang [in China]. Chairperson Tsai, have any Taiwanese men performed military service in Heilongjiang in the past two years?

The DPP also said the Ma administration would allow people from mainland China to participate in local exams and get certifications in Taiwan. Chairperson Tsai, have any Chinese people entered exams and received certificates as lawyers, certified accountants or architects?

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) promised to open the country to direct cross-strait flights and allow Chinese tourists into Taiwan during his two presidential campaigns. However, when we started promoting the two policies after taking office, you accused us of bringing a Trojan Horse into the country. Don’t you think that is ridiculous?

The DPP said on April 6 that 3.21 million white-collar workers will be affected after an ECFA is signed and the number jumped to 5 million five days later. You see yourself as professional; is exaggerating such numbers professional? Let me ask you, Chairperson Tsai, do you still want to continue scaring people by preying on their insecurities?

DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文): People’s sense of insecurity does exist and no political party can create public insecurity. The DPP had no budget and no resources. We can only appeal to the public with what the voters fear the most and speak for them during elections. A political party cannot create public fear where there is none.

During the two years since you took office, people have shared a sense of fear, and not only pan-green supporters, but pan-blue supporters also share those fears. In several polls conducted by the DPP, between 40 percent and 50 percent of people from the pan-blue camp said they are anxious about the issue of nationality. The anxiety about nationality exists across party lines and continues to exist.

You never persist in Taiwan’s sovereignty and always refer to Taiwan and China as the “Taiwan region” and “the Mainland region.” When [Association of Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman] Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) visited Taiwan, the government treated him with the utmost respect and suppressed the people. You also failed to let people feel your persistence on sovereignty when negotiating with China and the US. You are not a dependable president to the people.

The DPP laid the foundations for cross-strait direct flights and we did not adopt a “closed-door” policy. Instead, the DPP made steady progress in cross-strait relations, and we did not say no to Chinese tourists. It is the DPP that laid the foundations. The remarks you just made were inappropriate. A president should not use those things as examples to threaten the people in a debate on national policies.

We never saw the early-harvest list and we don’t know the timetable for tax reductions and the opening of the market. The only thing we can do is to calculate the number of laborers who will be affected based on the 2,300 banned items. The impact of an ECFA, be it an increase in unemployment rates or lower salaries, will affect people deeply. However, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has not dared to face these issues and never let the public see its research and studies. Are you facing the possible impacts [of an ECFA] with honesty? How can you accuse the opposition parties of threatening the people if the president never faced the impacts of an ECFA with honesty?

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