Hsieh says Taiwan must lead the way in direct links talks

STANDING FIRM: Frank Hsieh said that the nation should insist on its own principles and must not give way to China when direct links are discussed


Tue, Jun 19, 2007 - Page 3

Taiwan's values must not be compromised even if direct transport, trade and postal services are opened with China, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday in Penghu.

Hsieh, who was on a two-day tour of Penghu, said the establishment of the so-called "three direct links" between Taiwan and China must be based on the values that the nation has long pursued, although such opening would be mutually beneficial.

Stating that Taiwan has to insist on its own principles and must not give its way to China's term and conditions when it comes to the issue of building direct links, Hsieh said that "happiness and the future are in our hands" and that "Taiwan must lead the way in bilateral talks."

In response to talks made a day earlier in Kinmen by the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) that he would allow all Taiwanese to use the "small three links" if he were elected president, Hsieh claimed that such rhetoric would impair two-way talks on the opening of direct links between Taiwan proper and China.

"It is very inappropriate for Ma to voice this idea now and show his lack of experience," Hsieh said.

The "small three links" refer to direct shipping services maintained between Taiwan's outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu with the three Chinese ports of Xiamen, Mawei and Quanzgou in Fujian Province.

Meanwhile, the government yesterday invited investors to join its efforts to develop these islands by taking advantage of the state-run Outlying Islet Construction Fund, officials of the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) said.

The fund has a budget of NT$350 million (US$10.56 million) for proposed investments on the outlying islands this year, with local operators of holiday villas and hotels welcome to bid for funding, the CEPD said.

Investors can also avail of the government's preferential low-interest loans for outlying island investment, the CEPD said.