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.”
‘DEMOCRATIC FISH’: Soichiro Hayashi said he wants to return Taiwan’s kindness after it helped with relief efforts after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami Japanese fish farmers are ready to help Taiwan after China banned Taiwanese grouper imports, the Sankei Shimbun reported yesterday. The Chinese General Administration of Customs suspended imports of the fish on Monday last week, citing prohibited chemicals and excessive levels of oxytetracycline allegedly found in grouper imports since December last year. Soichiro Hayashi, president of the Hayashi Trout Farm in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, is leading the push for Taiwanese grouper imports, the newspaper said. His call has caught the attention of several large sushi chains, the report said. Hayashi, who is the Fukushima branch head of the Friends of Lee Teng-hui Association in Japan,
‘TROJAN HORSE’ SCHEME: The comment that a bridge would allow China’s PLA to easily launch an attack shows ‘a lack of backbone,’ Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said Critics accused Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) of being oblivious to national security concerns after he proposed constructing a bridge to link Kinmen and China’s Xiamen (廈門). Ko, who is also the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) chairman, made the proposal when presiding over the opening ceremony of the party’s office in Kinmen on Saturday. He said the bridge could solve Kinmen’s population, electricity and garbage problems, as well as serve as a shortcut for leaving or entering Taiwan without traveling via Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport). He also proposed building a hospital in Kinmen to attract people who are seeking medical treatment in
OVER THE HUMP: In a seven-day period ending on Wednesday, the nation reported 366,628 new cases, down 19 percent from the 451,358 reported in the previous week The nation might further open up to more arrivals in the next two months, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported 48,283 new local COVID-19 cases, down from more than 50,000 in the previous few days. Taiwan on Wednesday last week introduced a plan to allow up to 25,000 arrivals per week as part of efforts to gradually reopen borders, which includes reducing mandatory quarantines for inbound travelers from seven to three days, followed by four days in “self-initiated epidemic prevention.” The quota covers inbound Taiwanese arrivals, businesspeople and migrant workers. Former vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday said
The Ministry of National Defense yesterday said it is monitoring Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy ship movements near Taiwan, after the Japanese Ministry of Defense disclosed that Chinese vessels made a rare voyage between Yilan County and Japan’s Yonaguni. The Japanese ministry on Wednesday said that two Chinese navy ships on Tuesday diverted from their usual route of entering the Pacific Ocean via the Miyako Strait and for the first time traveled there between Yilan and Yonaguni. The Japan Self-Defense Forces said that it picked up the presence of China’s Type-056A Jiangdao-class corvette 220km north of Yonaguni at 9am on Tuesday. The