The government does not avoid political issues in conducting cross-strait relations with China, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday, raising concerns about his administration’s interest in starting a political dialogue with China.
“The public tends to think that the government only promotes economic exchanges in cross-strait relations and skips political issues. That is not how we handle cross-strait relations. We do not avoid sensitive political issues intentionally,” Ma said at a meeting with a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) delegation heading to a forum with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in China on Saturday.
The “economics first, politics later” remains the government’s policy for dealing with China, but it does not mean that the government would avoid addressing political issues, he said.
Citing the signing of the cross-strait agreements on joint efforts to combat crimes and mutual legal assistance as examples, Ma said these issues carried some political significance and the government will address such issues if necessary.
“The establishment of cross-strait representative offices, for example, is neutral in nature. However, it is also without a doubt that the issue carries some political significance. If we do not address the issue, we will not be able to put high-level political issues on the table,” he said.
Ma’s comments came amid speculation over the KMT’s response to growing Chinese pressure to accelerate political talks since Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) took office in March.
Led by former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), the delegation will attend the forum in Nanning, Guangxi Province, on Saturday and Sunday. It will be the first forum since Xi took office.
Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, yesterday also repeated his call for the legislature to pass the amendment to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) to pave the way for the establishment of representative offices and to approve the cross-strait service trade agreement.
He also defended his Double Ten National Day speech, in which he said that cross-strait relations are “not international relations,” but rather special relations because “mainland China” is part of the territory of the Republic of China, as stated in the Constitution.
“It is impossible for us to recognize [mainland China] as another nation within our territory,” he said.
Wu, who has been serving as Ma’s envoy to the annual forum in the past years, triggered heated debate last year when he said cross-strait relations are not state-to-state relations at the meeting.
Ma said he believed Wu would discuss the government’s cross-strait policies clearly when meeting with representatives from China.
SECRET OUT: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung yesterday accidentally revealed that the infections occurred at the ministry’s Taoyuan General Hospital The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported the fifth COVID-19 case in a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital, where four other medical workers were confirmed to have been infected over the past week. The latest case is a nurse who had tested negative on Tuesday last week, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, told a news conference. However, on Thursday, she developed symptoms, such as nasal congestion and a cough, and a second test yesterday found that she was infected, Chen said. She is the head nurse of a ward where two
VIGILANCE: While two of the cases are family members of a nurse, there is no sign of community spread and the source of infection is identifiable, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four new domestic COVID-19 cases associated with a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital. Since the first case was identified on Tuesday last week, five healthcare workers — two doctors and three nurses — at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taoyuan General Hospital have tested positive for the virus. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that two of the four new cases are the husband and daughter of a nurse (case No. 863) who had earlier been confirmed to have COVID-19. The husband (case No. 864)
Don Quijote, the biggest discount store in Japan, is opening its first store in Taiwan today. The three-story Don Don Donki store in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area, which operates 24 hours a day, has already created 400 jobs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in a press release. Many Taiwanese, including Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), consider a trip to Don Quijote an essential stop in Japan. “I have been to Don Quijote at least 10 times myself,” Huang said yesterday at a news conference announcing the store’s opening. “They are rendering an important service, because we cannot travel
‘CONTAINED’: The CECC is not considering locking down the hospital where the infections were detected, as their source has been found, Chen Shih-chung said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported one new domestic COVID-19 case, a doctor at a hospital in northern Taiwan where three other medical workers were confirmed to have the disease over the past week. The new case — No. 856 — is a doctor who had treated a COVID-19 patient together with case No. 838, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. Case No. 838, confirmed as a locally infected COVID-19 case on Tuesday, was the first case in the hospital cluster, and later infected his partner, who is a nurse at the same