Until China acts in a more friendly fashion toward Taiwan, Taipei should bar Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) from visiting next week, a former Mainland Affairs Council chief said yesterday.
Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), who is also a former envoy to Washington, said Taiwanese would have no reason to oppose Chen’s visits if cross-strait negotiations could advance relations, improve Taiwan’s economic development and protect the interests of China-based Taiwanese businesspeople.
However, questions should be raised if the purpose of his visits is to make empty promises, cause disturbances or divide Taiwan, Wu told a forum on China-based Taiwanese businesspeople and cross-strait relations organized by Taiwan Brain Trust, a think tank.
“The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should be held fully responsible if it fails to express the displeasure of many Taiwanese with China’s recent maneuvers in denigrating Taiwan’s sovereignty and international space,” he said.
Wu urged the Ma administration to take better stock of China’s military threat and the damage it has done to Taiwan in the international arena.
Even some Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members have serious doubts about China’s intentions vis-a-vis Taiwan’s sovereignty and participation in international organizations, he said.
“The Mainland Affairs Council should tell [China’s] Taiwan Affairs Office that it is not the right time for Chen to visit and that Taiwan will only welcome him if things improve,” he said.
Wu said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) should establish a center to offer legal and consultation services to Taiwanese businesspeople based in China.
“Only with a strong opposition will Beijing take Taiwan more seriously,” Wu said.
Tung Li-wen (董立文), a professor at the Graduate School of Public Security at Central Police University, said the stronger the DPP, the better the position of Taiwanese businesspeople in China would be.
“Taiwan can do a lot of things to get what it wants, as China must win the hearts of Taiwanese before it gets what it wants,” he said.
Tung urged the DPP to be more proactive in courting China-based Taiwanese businesspeople and protecting their interests.
Tung Chen-yuan (童振源), director of National Chengchi University’s Prediction Market Center, said the Ma administration owed Taiwanese an explanation as to why the individual safety of China-based Taiwanese businesspeople continued to deteriorate while cross-strait relations ostensibly improve.
“It shows the channel [of communication] between the KMT and Chinese Communist Party is of questionable value,” he said.
With the legislative and presidential elections fast approaching, Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), chief executive of Taiwan Brain Trust, said he suspected China would be more willing to offer economic sweeteners to Taiwan while remaining inflexible on the diplomatic front.
He said the administration should not be afraid of negotiating with China and that it should not do so out of fear.
“If the reason the administration negotiates with China is because it is afraid that cross-strait relations would regress, then Taiwan has no bargaining chip whatsoever,” Lo said. “The beauty of democracy is that some play ‘good cop’ and some play ‘bad cop.’ While the council played the bad cop when the DPP was in power, it is now playing the good cop better than anyone else.”