Take the egos and the politics out of cross-strait exchanges and focus on what is right and good, former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.
Tsai said exchanges across the Taiwan Strait should not be dominated by specific political parties and individuals.
“Hopefully, our exchange visit will establish a new model for future engagement ... and both sides [of the Taiwan Strait] should ditch the past model of exchange that was exploited by a selected few with a limited perspective,” she told a press conference.
Tsai was briefing the media about a delegation organized by her Thinking Taiwan Foundation, which had visited China for a five-day academic exchange on economic issues.
The nine-member delegation led by Lin Chuan (林全), executive director of the foundation and a former minister of finance, focused exclusively on trade and economic policy, without the involvement of businesspeople or meetings with Chinese officials, she said.
Tsai said she insisted on “multi-layered, multi-faceted and diverse” bilateral exchanges that were based on professional expertise, rather than political considerations.
However, Tsai reiterated that she currently has no plan to visit China, adding that she would only do so if her visit was beneficial to Taiwanese interests and to cross-strait stability.
Lin said the visit has been “fruitful” and “sincere” in exchanging views and opinions on a variety of economic issues, reiterating that it was a “return visit” for the attendance of two prominent Chinese economists — Bank of China chief economist Cao Yuanzheng (曹遠征) and Ding Zhijie (丁志杰) of the University of International Business and Economics — at an event organized by the foundation in July last year.
The delegation visited 13 institutions, some of them government agencies, and private companies for an insight into the Chinese economy, the challenges it faces and the reform plan that was unveiled in the Chinese Communist Party third plenum, Lin said.
In some ways, China and Taiwan are tackling the same problems, such as industrial upgrades and further market liberalization, he said, adding that China had paid a dear price for its failure to balance economic development and environmental protection.
Experts in the delegation, among them two former Financial Supervision Commission chairmen, Hu Sheng-cheng (胡勝正) and Shih Chun-chi (施俊吉), offered their experience on banking deregulation to their Chinese counterparts, Lin said.
Lin said Chinese academics were also keen to understand more about Taiwan’s economic policy and challenges.
Asked if the Chinese side had brought up the controversial cross-strait service trade agreement and the follow-up trade in goods agreement, which is still under negotiation, Lin said several academics privately asked about it.
“Nothing about the content was mentioned, but we did advise Beijing to understand why the pact has been seen as a serious concern to Taiwanese. We also told them what our concerns are,” Lin said.
Shih summed up the benefits of the trip as discussions and on-site inspection that enabled better understanding of China’s banking policy, macroeconomic policy, the methodology and processing of its statistics and economic accounting, operation of its electronic and communication industry, such as computer manufacturer Lenovo and search engine Baidu, as well as China’s efforts on free-trade zones in Tianjin.