Fri, Oct 14, 2016 - Page 3 News List

MAC backs local-level interaction across the Strait

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday said it welcomes local-level interaction across the Taiwan Strait, pledging to facilitate exchanges of views between the council and local government heads to promote amicable ties.

In a press release yesterday, the council said that improving interactions with local governments to forge consensuses has been a significant part of its effort to promote relations across the Taiwan Strait.

“In a bid to gain a better understanding of local governments’ views regarding cross-strait ties, MAC Minister Katharine Chang (張小月) and officials have visited the leaders of local governments, including Tainan and Taoyuan cities, as well as Nantou, Hualien and Hsinchu counties, since July,” the council said.

The purpose of the visits was to exchange opinions with local heads on the issue of cross-strait interactions and explain the central government’s policies, the council said, adding that more such visits would be conducted.

The council made the remarks amid speculation that recent visits by high-level council officials were meant to target the eight pan-blue local government heads who went to Beijing last month offering their acceptance of the so-called “1992 consensus” in exchange for preferential tourism treatment by China.

The delegation, consisting of six Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and two independent local government heads, met with Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Chairman Yu Zhengsheng (俞正聲) and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) during the visit to discuss tourism and trade-related issues.

The “1992 consensus” — a term former MAC chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted that he made up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and Beijing that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) refusal to recognize the “1992 consensus” has been met with several punitive measures from Beijing, including the suspension of official cross-strait communications and a reduction in the number of Chinese tourists allowed to visit Taiwan.

Stressing that the government has a positive attitude toward cross-strait interactions at the local government level, the council said it values suggestions made by local governments and that it has paid attention to the problems they face promoting cross-strait exchanges.

“Based on the existing foundation, we intend to bolster interactions and cooperation with various local governments, while joining hands with them to facilitate stable and peaceful development of cross-strait relations and improving the welfare of the people,” the council said.

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