With the completion of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 18th National Congress last month, Beijing is stepping up pressure on Taiwan to begin political talks and sign a cross-strait “peace agreement.”
During a routine press conference in Beijing yesterday, Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Fan Liqing (范麗青) said that China remained committed to safeguarding peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, adding that concerns on Taiwan’s side over the deployment by China of about 1,600 ballistic missiles would be best addressed through timely meetings on military issues.
The best way to reduce military concerns would be for the two sides to discuss the establishment of a cross-strait mutual-trust security mechanism, during which issues of military deployments could be addressed, Fan said.
Both President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration and the Democratic Progressive Party have repeatedly called on Beijing to remove or dismantle the ballistic and cruise missiles aimed at Taiwan. So far, such calls have fallen on deaf ears, with the number of missiles increasing at a rate of about 100 missiles annually.
China has also been upgrading its missile forces, replacing short-range Dong Feng-11 (DF-11) missiles with more modern and accurate versions, while increasing the number of longer-range missiles, such as the DF-15 and its latest addition, the DF-16.
Earlier this month, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said that Taipei expected Beijing would exert more pressure on Taiwan to begin political talks, adding that based on his agency’s assessment of the language used during the CCP congress, China seemed especially keen on signing a cross-strait peace agreement.
Fan said a peace agreement was in line with the overall interests of the “Chinese nation” and that the main task following the party congress was to “deepen the peaceful development of cross-strait relations” through follow-up consultations on the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and an intensification of economic cooperation and cross-strait cultural exchanges.
In related developments, the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League — one of the eight non-communist political parties in China — held its ninth national congress on Tuesday and pledged to promote the “peaceful reunification of the Chinese nation.”
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan (王岐山), a member of the CCP Standing Committee, praised the party, which counts about 2,100 Taiwanese living in China as members, for its “patriotic and revolutionary tradition,” and for the contributions it made to “promoting prosperity and peaceful reunification of the Chinese nation,” Xinhua news agency reported.
During the meetings, the league was urged to “deepen exchanges with people from all walks of life” in Taiwan, to “fight with Taiwan compatriots against ‘Taiwan independence’” and to ensure that Taiwanese recognize the so-called “1992 consensus,” a disputed “agreement” under which both sides have conducted negotiations.
The congress also resolved to draw China and Taiwan closer economically, increase the “common cultural identity” and strengthen the “emotional bounds between people across the Strait.”
League chairwoman Lin Wenyi (林文漪) said the party should study and implement the spirit of the 18th National Congress and seek the “peaceful reunification of the Chinese nation.”
BACK TO NORMAL? The move would be part of a gradual easing of curbs monitored by the CECC, which would retain the quarantine mandate if case numbers rise again The Cabinet yesterday approved a plan to next month reopen Taiwan’s borders to all visitors and lift the quarantine mandate for arrivals, provided the nation’s COVID-19 situation does not escalate. The changes are likely to take effect on Oct. 13 as part of a phased easing of border controls that is to start on Thursday next week when a negative polymerase chain reaction test result would no longer be needed, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference. Arriving travelers would instead be given four rapid antigen home test kits, Lo said. The three-day quarantine requirement followed by four days of mandatory
The Chinese navy has the ability to blockade Taiwan, but doing so could prompt a coordinated response by the international community to intervene to resolve the crisis for Taiwan, US Vice Admiral Karl Thomas said. “Clearly if they do something that’s non-kinetic, which, you know, a blockade is less kinetic ... then that allows the international community to weigh in and to work together on how we’re going to solve that challenge,” the commander of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Monday. While he could not predict whether China would launch a full-scale
‘NO SURRENDER’: A blockade or outlying island seizure would be an act of war, and China’s drills last month have emboldened Taipei in its response plans, an official said The Republic of China Army Command Headquarters has agreed to purchase 5,000 Kestrel close-range anti-armor missiles worth NT$400 million (US$12.63 million) from the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, according to the military’s latest arms purchase bid notice. The army asked the institute to complete the order within 13 months, a military source said on condition of anonymity. Kestrel missiles are designed to penetrate armored vehicles and are used in anti-surface warfare, as they feature optical sights and night vision, and can be operated in all weather conditions. The missile has a 400m range, or a 150m range when used for breaching brick
‘ABSURD’: UN Resolution 2758 expelled the Chiang Kai-Shek government without mentioning Taipei, something the Chinese minister did not acknowledge, Taipei said Taiwan yesterday criticized Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) for “intentionally misinterpreting” a 1971 UN resolution to misrepresent Taiwan’s status to the global community. In his address on Saturday to the UN General Assembly, Wang cited Resolution 2758 as a basis for Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China. He said that Beijing considers Taiwan an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times.” “Only when China is completely reunified can there be enduring peace across the Taiwan Strait... Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” Wang said. General Assembly Resolution 2758