Sun, Mar 03, 2019 - Page 3 News List

MAC watching Beijing meetings closely

ECHOING XI:Chinese authorities would only propose unification legislation if they lost control over the domestic situation and had to ‘play the Taiwan card,’ an academic said

By Chung Li-hua  /  Staff reporter

Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference spokesperson Guo Weimin, center, answers a journalist’s question during a news conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing yesterday.

Photo: AP

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) is watching Beijing to see if it unveils plans that echo Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) call to implement the “one country, two systems” framework in Taiwan, it said yesterday as China convened two national legislative meetings.

The second meeting of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference took place in Beijing yesterday, and the Chinese National People’s Congress is to meet in the city on Tuesday.

At last year’s meetings, representatives voted to remove the limit on presidential terms.

Under pressure from trade disputes with the US this year, the congress is expected to pass a draft foreign investment act to facilitate trade negotiations with Washington.

While Beijing has treated Taiwanese funding as foreign investment, it would be redefined as “special domestic investment,” Chinese media reported, citing Chinese Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), who is also a congress member.

Taiwan Thinktank consultant Tung Li-wen (董立文) said that Xi might not deliver another speech about Taiwan after his Jan. 2 talk on the 40th anniversary of the 1979 “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan.”

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s (李克強) report on the work of the Chinese government might sing the same old tune, although it is to include a section on Taiwan, Tung said.

At the two meetings, officials would almost certainly propose plans that echo Xi’s January speech, such as advising on how to implement the “one country, two systems” framework in Taiwan, he said.

However, Taiwanese officials must not overreact, he added.

Asked if Beijing might propose draft bills, such as a basic Taiwan act or a national unification act, Tung said such things would only bring self-inflicted embarrassment, as there is no consensus on unification across the Taiwan Strait.

National Cheng Kung University professor of political science Hung Ching-fu (洪敬富) said that Beijing would not propose such bills in the near future, unless it loses control over the domestic situation and has to “play the Taiwan card” to shift people’s focus by trumpeting its dream of unification.

With legislative by-elections to be held in New Taipei City, Tainan, and Changhua and Kinmen counties on March 16, Beijing might lobby for “specific candidates” at the two meetings, Hung said.

If the Democratic Progressive Party loses legislative seats, especially in Tainan, that would make Beijing more confident about its influence over Taiwanese politics, he said.

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