Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairperson Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) yesterday called on China to address concerns Taiwanese people have about the Chinese military buildup targeting Taiwan, while emphasizing goodwill to bring more positive results from cross-strait relations.
In a meeting with China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) after signing a cross-strait medical cooperation agreement earlier yesterday, Lai also urged China to acknowledge the issue of Taiwan’s national dignity on the international stage amid recent disputes sparked at cultural and sports events.
“Governments from both sides should face the issues together and work hard to give the people in Taiwan more confidence about cross-strait negotiations ... We expect the mainland to show more goodwill and to take actions to resolve the doubts of Taiwanese people,” she said in a post-meeting news conference held at the Grand Victoria Hotel.
Lai was referring to the -controversial disqualification of Taiwanese taekwondo athlete Yang Shu-chun (楊淑君) in the women’s under-49kg division at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, last month because of allegations, later disproved by video evidence, that she wore extra sensors in her socks.
Another event that stirred public anger and attracted calls for national dignity was Taiwanese actors and actresses’ being blocked from walking the red carpet at the Tokyo Film Festival in October after a Chinese delegation insisted that the Taiwanese group add the word “China” to their country’s name.
Although the sensitive dignity issue was brought up in the closed-door meeting, Lai said her two-hour meeting with Chen and the Chinese delegation was “friendly and candid.”
Both Lai and Chen defended the achievements of the cross-strait negotiations despite a failed attempt to sign a pact on investment protection, and promised to prioritize commodity and service trades and a dispute-resolution mechanism in future negotiation efforts. These issues as well as investment protection are the major issues the two sides have been seeking consensus on since the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) took effect in September.
“It is normal to have different opinions during the negotiation process, and we will address public needs and seek common ground with patience,” Lai said when addressing the meeting.
Chen joined Lai in defending the importance of regular cross-strait talks in promoting cross-strait exchanges. He said signing the ECFA and increasing numbers of Chinese tourists both contributed to the economic boom across the Taiwan Strait amid the global financial crisis.
Chen acknowledged that cross-strait talks have entered a more challenging stage with issues becoming more complicated, and echoed comments from Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) that the schedule of future Chiang-Chen meetings, which are now held every six months, can be flexible.
Yesterday’s meeting proceeded amid protest from pro-Taiwan independence advocates.
Part of the same group that protested Chen’s visit to the -National Palace Museum on Monday — members from the Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan — waved English signs saying, “Stop Ma from selling out Taiwan,” and “No KMT & CCP conspiracy,” referring to the China Communist Party.