The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday said that the decision to use funds held in reserve for national emergencies as relief aid to China last year simply reflected ongoing mutual assistance between Taiwan and China and did not violate the law.
Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said the money was spent as an expression of a common stance that the two sides would help each other whenever natural disasters hit. It did not violate the guidelines for the use of the reserve fund and the government had done the same thing in the past, Liu said, citing aid to Sichuan earthquake victims in 2008.
In May 2008, in the final days of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) term in office, then-premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) allocated NT$700 million (US$23.86 million) as aid to Sichuan Province to help with the reconstruction of earthquake-ravaged areas there.
The package was conceived by the DPP government and carried out later by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration out of humanitarian concerns for the earthquake victims in China, Liu said.
“Because of the relief aid, Chinese people have been very grateful to Taiwan,” Liu told a press conference at the legislature.
Legislators across partisan lines accused the council on Monday of misusing the government’s “secondary reserve fund” for emergency purposes by sending money to China to help with disaster relief efforts.
Legislators also said that the council did not initially report the plan to the legislature, which is charged with examining budgets and audits.
KMT Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said the council allocated NT$32.1 million to help fund reconstruction work in Yushu, Qinghai Province, an earthquake-damaged area.
It also donated another NT$33.47 million in aid to Zhouqu, in Gansu Province, which was hit by massive landslides in August, Lo said.
The use of the secondary reserve fund was designated for emergencies in Taiwan and bound by strict guidelines, she said.