Sun, Feb 26, 2012 - Page 3 News List

China drafts guidelines for cross-strait relations

MAKING NEW FRIENDS:Sources said that as part of its new strategy, Beijing did not rule out engaging with DPP members or other pro-independence supporters

Staff Writer, with CNA

China has drafted three new policy guidelines for cross-Taiwan Strait engagements in the wake of the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections, according to a local media report.

One of the new strategies involves Beijing expanding its outreach to Taiwanese with different party affiliations and from all walks of life, as well as an effort to exert more influence over the Taiwanese news media and help China-based Taiwanese companies upgrade operations and resolve trade disputes, the Chinese-language United Daily News said.

Chinese officials in charge of cross-strait affairs have held several brainstorming sessions since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was re-elected to a second four-year term last month, a source familiar with the matter said earlier this week.

In addition to charting three new policy guidelines, Chinese officials have also begun to execute decisions reached at those meetings, the source said.

The visit of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Deputy Chairman Zheng Lizhong (鄭立中), Beijing’s No. 2 cross-strait negotiator, which concluded on Thursday, was part of China’s new approach, the source said.

During his visit, Zheng, who is also deputy director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, traveled extensively in southern Taiwan, a DPP stronghold. While there he met with local farmers and aquaculture operators in an effort to forge relationships. According to the source, Zheng even stayed overnight at the homes of milkfish growers in Greater Tainan.

He also reached an agreement with Tainan milkfish farmers to form a joint venture company to handle fish farming in Taiwan and the sale of the fish in China, the source said.

Prior to his departure on Thursday, Zheng said his visit had been very fruitful, but he did not elaborate.

Other sources said that China’s new cross-strait action plan includes inviting Taiwanese to engage in “long stay” visits in China’s first-tier cities, living with selected Chinese families in an attempt to forge grassroots friendships.

The Chinese authorities will also continue to encourage Taiwanese to study and work in China.

In addition, the sources said that Beijing was not ruling out engaging with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) figures or other pro-independence supporters.

Political and military issues could also be placed on the agenda of future cross-strait talks, the sources said.

Most interesting is the suggestion that China has decided to enhance its direct and indirect influence on the news media in Taiwan, the sources said, adding that the decision is based on Beijing’s belief that the reporting of local media outlets have helped convince many Taiwanese to support the so-called “1992 consensus” for cross-strait cooperation.

The KMT defines the “1992 consensus” as an agreement according to which it interprets “one China” as the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan, while Beijing defines it as the People’s Republic of China. The DPP says the “1992 consensus” does not exist.

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