The first meeting between Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) must be transparent and their agenda placed under the Legislative Yuan’s supervision, Taiwan Brain Trust deputy director-general Lai Yi-chung (賴怡忠) said yesterday.
Wang’s visit to China, which begins today, and Zhang’s return visit, which has yet to be scheduled, symbolize the beginning of cross-strait political dialogue, Lai said.
This year is key to the development of relations across the Taiwan Strait as it will see the Wang-Zhang meeting, the 10th round of cross-strait economic talks, the annual forum between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party in August and the second cross-strait peace forum, as well as a possible meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) during the APEC summit in Beijing in November, Lai said.
The have been many signs that the Ma administration might attempt to expedite cross-strait political dialogue this year, Lai said.
While Ma repeatedly stressed during his first term that he would adhere to an “economy first, politics later; easy decisions first, tough calls later” strategy in cross-strait affairs, in his second term he has completely changed to a “politics first” outlook, Lai said.
Ma first brought up the idea of a peace accord with China in late 2011, and after winning the 2012 presidential election he chose Wang to head the council and then-council deputy minister Chan Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀) to be secretary-general of the Straits Exchange Foundation, Lai said.
It is evident that the Ma administration is preparing for eventual political dialogue with China, Lai said.
This proactive attitude toward cross-strait political dialogue is dangerous, especially since the public has no idea of the exact agenda for the Wang-Zhang meetings, Lai said.
The Legislative Yuan must be on the ball when it comes to Wang’s trip and meetings, Lai said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan Brain Trust member Tung Li-wen (董立文) said Ma’s strong push for a meeting with Xi could cost Taiwan dearly.
The Ma administration had constantly backed away from making a stand against China on cross-strait issues, and Ma said that “cross-strait relations are not international affairs,” Tung said.
Ma made the remark during his Double Ten National Day address on Oct. 10 last year.
Taiwan has very few cards to play and China currently has the initiative, Tung said.
Ma’s asking for a meeting with Xi would leave Taiwan unable to refuse China’s requests for political dialogue, he added.