Taiwan said yesterday that it has no plans to adopt cross-strait -confidence-building measures (CBMs) of the kind called for by China.
“The proposed CBMs would involve national security and the Ministry of National Defense will follow the government’s established policy on China in pushing forward such a mechanism gradually, steadily and practically if necessary,” military spokesman Lo Shao-ho (羅紹和) said in response to a renewed proposal from Beijing on cross-strait military exchanges.
In its defense white paper for last year released earlier in the day, Beijing said China and Taiwan could begin military -exchanges, explore the feasibility of adopting CBMs and launch talks on “political relations between the two sides prior to national unification.”
The white paper goes so far as to say that “both sides should finally negotiate the end of hostility by reaching a peace agreement based on the ‘one China’ principle.”
Separately, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday also said that now is not the time for Taipei and Beijing to discuss political and military issues.
Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) declined to set a timetable for such talks, emphasizing that both sides first need to develop more mutual trust through the -existing institutionalized negotiation mechanisms.
“Both sides are facing many problems created by cross-strait exchanges,” Liu said. “Addressing economic problems is our first priority at the moment.”
While the two sides are negotiating, Liu said the council did not want China to have military deployments against Taiwan.
“We think China could remove those missiles unilaterally and immediately,” he said.
If China could take the initiative to remove the missiles targeted at Taiwan, Liu said that would go some way toward deepening the peaceful development of cross-strait ties and building mutual trust.
“Taiwan’s security is the most important indicator of the development of cross-strait relations,” he said. “It is the joint responsibility of the two sides to protect peace across the Taiwan Strait and stability in the region.”
Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) also recently urged the government to engage in political talks with China.
On Tuesday when attending a book launch in Taipei, he said that while both sides have made progress on economic issues and party to party relations, the only areas where progress had not been made since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office was a peace agreement, a security mechanism and mechanisms to end cross-strait hostility.
Lien urged the two sides to exchange opinions on political issues and seek to resolve areas of disagreement.
Liu yesterday said that the government’s policy is to tackle economic issues first, before it addresses political ones, adding there are still many economic issues resulting from cross-strait exchanges that need to be addressed.