Several critical agreements, including one protecting Taiwanese investment in China, have so far been overlooked despite ongoing cross-strait negotiations over the past two years, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.
DPP spokesperson Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) accused Beijing of being reluctant to negotiate on key issues unless Taiwan agrees to certain concessions, including greater access to its market.
For instance, Cheng said, Beijing has been attempting to connect mechanisms to protect Taiwanese investments in China with regulations that will allow larger amounts of Chinese capital to flow freely across the Taiwan Strait.
It was regrettable, he added, that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) did not have a counter-policy to deal with these Chinese demands, especially as the protection mechanism was one of his election platforms in 2008.
Cheng said the DPP believed that proper arrangements relating to the “beyond rights” mentioned in an agreement on direct charter flights have not been fully explored despite the issue being linked to the profitability of Taiwanese airlines and public convenience.
“Beyond rights refers to a set of regulations that will allow cross-strait airlines, in this case, to carry passengers from a second country on to other countries. The issue plays a significant role in the development of Taiwan’s airline industry,” Cheng said.
Another critical issue that has continued to be ignored includes agreements dealing with tainted food and notably, compensation for Taiwanese victims of tainted milk powder manufactured in China.
Cheng’s remarks were made as Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) arrived in Taipei yesterday to begin negotiations on a cross-strait healthcare cooperation agreement and the establishment of investment protocols.
Cheng said that based on the 14 agreements already signed between cross-strait negotiators, most of the negotiations have been of little benefit to Taiwan.
“There are a lot of agreements that should have been signed, but were not, and a lot of issues that we should have fought for, but we didn’t,” he said.
Describing the DPP’s attitude toward cross-strait agreements, he said the party is choosing to “calmly face up to China, as opposed to the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT], which wants to enthusiastically embrace it,” rebutting a media report that said “China fever has been rising within the DPP” after the party decided to establish a think tank for research, whose tasks include how the party should engage China.
He said that although the DPP will not exclude dialogue with China, such talks can take place only when the sovereignty of Taiwan and the values of democracy and human rights are fully safeguarded.
Meanwhile, DPP lawmakers also issued new remarks slamming the proposed establishment of a cross-strait economic cooperation committee, mandated as part of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed in June, as being unconstitutional.
Talks on how the committee will operate are expected to be a focus of talks today between Chen and Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤).
Revealing a draft outline of the committee organization, DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said that co-conveners were expected to include senior government officials, such as Taiwan’s Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Francis Liang (梁國新) and China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Zengwei (姜增偉).