Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Deming’s (陳德銘) eight-day visit to Taiwan starting today is an affront to Taiwanese sovereignty and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should cancel the visit immediately, the pan-green camp said yesterday.
Chen’s group, including ARATS officials and Chinese business leaders, will focus on Taiwan’s “free economic pilot zones,” a project under which six harbors and the planned Taoyuan Aerotropolis will be designated as models of liberalization.
The pan-green camp is concerned that the project will spur a mass influx of Chinese white--collar workers, Chinese agricultural products and investment in local businesses previously off-limits to Chinese capital.
Chen’s group will visit Pingtung County and Greater Kaohsiung tomorrow, then travel north, stopping in Greater Tainan, Chiayi County, Greater Taichung and Hsinchu County, finally returning to Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市).
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) held a press conference in which it alleged that Chen’s visit was aimed at applying political pressure on Taiwan’s economy and attempting to force Ma’s hand on the cross-strait service trade agreement and the free economic pilot zones.
Chen’s visit under the guise of “economic interaction” is not so simple a matter, TSU caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said.
His plan to visit the Taoyuan Aerotropolis, Taipei Harbor, Greater Taichung Harbor, Greater Kaohsiung Harbor and the Pingtung Biological and Agricultural Science Park, designated as free economic pilot zones, indicated Chinese pressure on the Ma administration to expedite the project and the cross-strait service trade agreement.
TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said that Taiwan has its own laws, and all accords or treaties with foreign nations must be supported by the public before they can be ratified by the Legislative Yuan.
“We hope that Chen will not try to tell Taiwan what to do when he visits,” Huang said.
TSU deputy whip Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) also said that Chen’s arrival drew more Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials to visit him than Ma, including former KMT vice president Lien Chan (連戰) and former KMT chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄), former Straits Exchange Foundation chairman (SEF) Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), as well as People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) and the owners of large firms, such as Want Want and Foxconn.
It is evident that Ma’s influence over cross-strait policy is waning fast and that corporations are beginning to sideline the Ma administration, she said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) echoed the TSU’s sentiments and called on people to protest Chen’s visit.
Gao called for the government to cancel Chen’s visit as a protest against China’s demarcation of an East China Sea air defense identification zone (ADIZ), which is a serious affront to Taiwanese sovereignty.
Meanwhile, in answer to the call to shadow Chen’s entourage for the duration of his visit and show Chen how strongly Taiwanese resent the cross-strait service trade agreement and the setting up of the economic free pilot zones, the Black Island National Youth Front yesterday said that it would be greeting Chen at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport today at 11am.
The group said that it hoped to show Chen how Taiwanese resent Chinese influence on Taiwanese politics, how the public opposes the cross-strait service trade agreement and how Taiwanese resolutely oppose the free economic pilot zones, which would greatly hurt Taiwan’s agriculture and job market.
Additional reporting by Lo Tien-pin, Chen Tzu-wen, and CNA