Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday denied reports that the government has committed to a “three noes” pledge limiting the topics that can be discussed at the planned meeting between Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) next month.
The Chinese-language United Daily News yesterday said the government has agreed that three categories of topics — politics, the Republic of China and anything related to human rights, democracy, rule of law and the use of the word “president” — would not be raised during Wang’s stay in Nanjing, China, from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19.
“I’m not aware of the existence of such an agreement,” Jiang told the Legislative Yuan in Taipei when asked about the newspaper report by People First Party Legislator Thomas Lee (李桐豪).
The premier said Wang would be visiting China in his capacity as council head, not as “an individual.”
The MAC minister did not deny the report yesterday when approached for comment, but did pledge to adhere to the principles of reciprocity and dignity during his trip, while upholding the government’s stance on cross-strait policy.
“The preparatory work for my visit has entered the final stages and the council plans to brief the public on the relevant details of the trip at a press conference scheduled for tomorrow [today],” Wang said yesterday on the sidelines of a year-end banquet with reporters.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday urged Wang not to shy away from rights issues.
If the United Daily News report is true, it would mean that Wang is incompetent and guilty of malfeasance, DPP Department of China Affairs director Honigmann Hong (洪財隆) said in a press release yesterday afternoon.
According to the report, Beijing not only insisted on the “three noes,” but also on being able to censor Wang’s speaking notes in advance.
“Only Taiwanese and the legislature have the mandate and authority to put any restraints on what Wang should or should not say at the meeting. No other country would unilaterally make unreasonable demands for such a summit, like barring the use of the other nation’s name, or forbidding any mention of that nation’s core values,” Hong said.
Hong urged Wang to take the opportunity to address the Taiwanese public’s concerns on the human rights situation in China.
The report also said that the main themes of the talks — establishing representative offices on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, freedom of the press and cross-strait economic integration — have been reaffirmed.
Given the sensitivity of next month’s summit — the first ever between officials in charge of bilateral affairs in their official capacities — and the reported efforts to arrange a meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at the APEC summit in Shanghai later this year, lawmakers are paying extra attention to Wang’s trip.
A legislative resolution adopted on Jan. 14 stipulates that during his time in China, Wang should not sign any document or issue any joint statements that accept or echo Beijing’s claim of a “one China” framework or its opposition to Taiwanese independence, or which could endanger the nation’s sovereignty.
Ahead of the meeting, China yesterday reiterated its insistence on the “one China” framework.
In Lunar New Year’s greetings published by the TAO-affiliated monthly Relations Across Taiwan Straits, Zhang expressed hope that both sides of the Taiwan Strait would continue to strengthen mutual political trust and uphold the “one China” framework.
“In the year to come... I also hope that both sides can work to facilitate policy communications, reinforce their economic cooperation, push ahead with cross-strait negotiations, accomplish more achievements beneficial to the public, expand their scope of amicable interactions, cement the ‘family bond’ between the people on both sides and jointly build a better home for Chinese [as an ethnic group],” Zhang wrote.
Amid hope that there will soon be historical achievements in cross-strait ties, being able to serve a vital role in the Taiwan Affairs Office is both a tremendous honor and an onerous burden, he added.
Zhang said that the Chinese Communist Party in November last year unveiled an agenda for the next stage of its reform drive that includes the direction for the reforms, as well as the party’s general goals.
“China’s relentless effort to push for reforms will undoubtedly create more opportunities for cross-strait mutual development … and it also plays a significant role in deciding the course of cross-strait relations,” Zhang said.
When asked to comment on the “three noes” pledge at a regularly scheduled press conference in Beijing, the Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said the Zhang-Wang meeting would help push cross-strait relations forward, adding that China does not want anything to happen that could disturb arrangements for the talks.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan
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