Wed, Mar 06, 2013 - Page 4 News List

SEF office not ‘state-to-state relations’

ALL IN A NAME:The government hopes that a Straits Exchange Foundation office in China can serve as a consulate, but Beijing has not agreed, a minister said yesterday

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The nomenclature that will be used by the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits when they set up their offices in each other’s territory will not symbolize that Taiwan and China are in a state-to-state relationship, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday.

Wang made the remarks in response to questions by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) at the legislature.

Earlier last month, Wang said that Taipei and Beijing have exchanged views on the possibility of the association and the foundation setting up offices in their respective territories under the framework of the so-called “1992 consensus,” or what President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has interpreted as “one China, with each side having its own interpretation.”

Asked by Hsiao to explain whether the offices would be defined as overseas missions or as domestic institutions, and what the offices would be characterized as to define the relationship between the two sides, Wang said the office would use the SEF plaque, but that there would also be council officials and officials from other government agencies attending to cross-strait affairs stationed at the office.

The foundation’s office would deal with cross-strait affairs, ranging from economic exchanges and trade issues to people-to-people contacts and emergency disaster relief, Wang said.

He added that while the government hopes the foundation’s office will serve as a consulate to issue travel documents to Chinese citizens, Beijing has not agreed to the proposal.

China is concerned that having the foundation’s office issue travel documents could create a “misunderstanding” that Taiwan and China are in a state-to-state relationship, he said.

“We are still in talks with the mainland side [China],” Wang said.

Wang said the details governing the arrangement would be presented to the legislature for review next month at the earliest.

Meanwhile, in response to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中), Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said that the time for Taiwan to negotiate a peace accord with China was not ripe, because China always places such a treaty under the “one China” framework and it has sent different messages as to whether it allows for Taiwan’s interpretation of “one China” as the “Republic of China.”

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