The latest round of cross-strait talks is to be held on May 23 in Kinmen, with the issue of Taiwan’s intention to join the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to be discussed, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) spokesperson Wu Mei-hung (吳美紅) said yesterday.
Wu said that both sides have agreed to add the issue of Taiwan’s participation in the nascent multilateral lender to the agenda of the meeting, which was originally scheduled for early February, between council Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) and Chinese Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍).
It is set to be Hsia’s first meeting with Zhang, and the third set of high-level cross-strait talks since the first official contact between the governments on either side of the Taiwan Strait took place in Beijing in February last year.
The Hsia-Zhang meeting scheduled in February was canceled amid the dispute over China’s unilateral decision to open the M503 flight route and three feeder routes over the Taiwan Strait, which was implemented on March 29 after revisions that saw the M503 path moved westward and the feeder routes temporarily suspended.
Other issues for the upcoming meeting remained the same as those scheduled for February’s meeting, including the ongoing project for Kinmen to tap drinking water from China, seaborne garbage originating from China, sea sand quarrying and illegal fishing by Chinese, promotion of tourism to China in Kinmen, and freight facilitation measures for cargo ships through the so-called “small three links,” — between Taiwan’s islands of Kinmen, Matsu, and Penghu and China, Wu said.
Meanwhile, Wu said Hsia would lodge a protest with Zhang over the new version of China’s national security act that obliges, Taiwanese to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, calling it a common obligation of all Chinese, including Taiwanese, Hong Kongers and Macanese.
On May 24, Zhang is set to meet with Kinmen County Commissioner Chen Fu-hai (陳福海) and representatives of local businesses.
He is also scheduled to visit some manufacturers of local products, such as Kaoliang liquor, peanut candy and steel knives before he returns to China later that day, Wu said.
The Democratic Progressive Party issued a statement late on Thursday in response to the planned meeting saying that while the party views cross-strait exchanges in a positive light, they should be conducted in accordance with principles of “sovereignty, equality, and democracy.”
Cross-strait talks cannot be held in a way that would harm the interests of Taiwan, evade legislative supervision, or involve issues of a political nature, DPP spokesperson Wang Ming-sheng (王閔生) said.
The issue of whether Taiwan should be part of the AIIB is a matter of significance, high political sensitivity and complexity that deserves thorough assessment and discussions in the legislature before a decision is made, Wang said.
“It is not a decision that the government can make in a rash and unilateral way. It should never be treated as a black-box issue,” he said.
The DPP demanded that Hsia explain to the public whether the council has the mandate from the Executive Yuan to negotiate the AIIB issue with China as required by the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), Wang said.
Hsia should also take the opportunity to clarify to China that Taiwan does not accept the “one China” framework imposed by China or the way Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) characterized cross-strait relations as “both sides belonging to ‘one China’” in statements to lawmakers, Wang said.
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