Fri, Apr 10, 2015 - Page 4 News List

AIIB talks not yet started, MAC says

SHOWING YOUR HAND:A DPP legislator said the president had surrendered ‘before the war started’ by suggesting the use of ‘Chinese Taipei’ for participation in the AIIB

By Wang Yu-chung  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Taiwan’s bid to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment bank (AIIB) has not yet been discussed by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), council spokesperson Wu Mei-hung (吳美紅) said yesterday.

Despite that, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday reiterated his wish that Taiwan be admitted to the nascent regional lender under the name “Chinese Taipei.”

At a regular news conference yesterday, Wu declined to comment on whether council Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) would bring up issues related to the bank at his scheduled meeting with TAO Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), the date of which is not yet settled.

“It would depend on when the Hsia-Zhang meeting takes place,” Wu said.

Earlier yesterday, during an address to members of the Asia Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce, Ma said that “Chinese Taipei” would be a designation for Taiwan in the AIIB that would be “most acceptable” to all parties.

Ma told foreign journalists based in Taiwan on Wednesday that there is a precedent of the use of “Chinese Taipei” for the nation to participate in the bank.

Taiwan participates in APEC under the name “Chinese Taipei,” which is also the short form of the name Taiwan uses at the WTO, of which it is a member, Ma said.

The president also cited remarks made by Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅), who said the matter should be handled in accordance with “international practice” when asked what name Taiwan might use to join the bank.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) yesterday lashed out at Ma, saying that the president should not have put limits on what Taiwan could negotiate with China even before talks begin.

“Why did Ma surrender even before the war started?” Huang said.

Ma also spoke about reasons for the government’s decision to seek inclusion in the bank.

“We want to help countries with insufficient infrastructure,” he said. “Taking part in the AIIB will help achieve that goal.”

Participation in the bank will also give Taiwan more opportunities to join regional economic activities, as the nation seeks to join the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade blocs, he said.

Meanwhile, joining the AIIB would provide more business opportunities for Taiwanese construction companies, which would be able to bid for public infrastructure projects overseas, Ma said.

Taking part in the AIIB would benefit Taiwan, Ma said, adding that it would be conducive for the development of ties across the Taiwan Strait.

In response to questions on whether participation in the bank would affect Taiwan’s bid to join the US-led TPP, Ma said it would not.

The US has changed its attitude on the AIIB and has recently said that it welcomes the establishment of the development bank, Ma said.

On the issue of joining the TPP, the key factor is the openness of Taiwan’s domestic market, Ma said.

Becuase “the US has some expectations on the issue of pork and beef imports,” Ma said Taiwan has decided to open its doors to more US beef products.

He said that Taiwan allows imports of US pork and only bans imports of US pork containing traces of ractopamine, a feed additive banned in Taiwan.

“We will continue to make our stance clear to the US,” Ma said, urging the US not to let the issue become a hindrance to advancing ties between the two nations.

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