Legislators across party lines yesterday said new flight routes announced by China are testing the nation’s bottom line and that peace across the Taiwan Strait will be difficult to keep if the government does not confront Beijing head on over the matter.
On Monday, China announced via the International Civil Aviation Organization new commercial flight routes just to the west of the median line of the Taiwan Strait, an act said to pose risks to Taiwan’s air safety and defense.
While, the Ministry of National Defense and the Civil Aeronautics Administration on Tuesday took a firm stand against the move, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has made relatively soft remarks on it, merely calling it “unacceptable” and urging China to engage in further negotiations.
MAC Vice Minister Wu Mei-hung (吳美紅) yesterday said that the two sides should maintain friendly and positive interactions, and that cross-strait talks should continue.
Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) Legislator Chou Ni-an (周倪安) yesterday lambasted the council, saying its attitude is soft, since the routes should have been decided after sufficient communication between the two nations.
The council should make its objections plain, or it would be tantamount to forfeiting national sovereignty, Chou said.
Chou said the council should suspend the issuing of landing visas in Kinmen County for Chinese visitors and the “small three links” (三通) until cross-strait negotiations are held to deal with Beijing’s announcement.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) said that with China carrying out reclamation projects in the South China Sea and having its military vessels sail through disputed waters to flex its military muscles and showcase its ambitions, it will become more difficult for the government to keep cross-strait peace if it does not demonstrate its strong discontent over the routes.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said Beijing unilaterally established the new routes in the face of the President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration because it has become impatient with obstructions to cross-strait negotiations and the KMT’s drubbing in last year’s nine-in-one elections.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) criticized the council, accusing it of trying to avoid the problem.
Future cross-strait negotiations might be held under the “one China” regime if the government does not toughen up this time, Tsai said.
Meanwhile, TSU chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said China is pressing aggressively toward Taiwan, not only in terms of its missiles targeting the nation, but now in the civil aviation arena.
DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said during a meeting of the party’s Central Standing Committee that China’s action would have great impact on cross-strait flight safety, national security and sovereignty, adding that the move is extremely disrespectful to Taiwan and in violation of the spirit of the Convention on International Civil Aviation.
It also risks incurring changes to the cross-strait “status quo” and peace, Tsai Ing-wen added.
It is unacceptable to Taiwanese that while the Ma administration has been touting its efforts in cross-strait relations, it failed to see this coming, she said, adding that the DPP demands that the government lodge a firm protest with Beijing.
WHEELING AND DEALING? Hou You-yi, Ko Wen-je, Eric Chu and Ma Ying-jeou are under investigation for allegedly offering bribes for the other side to drop out of the race Taipei prosecutors have started an investigation into allegations that four top politicians involved in attempts to form a “blue-white” presidential ticket have contravened election regulations. Listed as defendants are Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the KMT and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲). The case stemmed from judicial complaints filed last month with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office alleging that the KMT (blue) and the TPP (white) had engaged in bribery by offering money or other enticements
COUNTER DISINFORMATION: More engagement and media literacy are needed to push back against misinformation and claims that the US is an unreliable partner, the AIT director said The US is “confident” that Taiwan does not face an imminent threat of a Chinese invasion, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk told a US public radio show, adding that Washington remains committed to defensively arming the nation. She made the comment during an interview on All Things Considered, broadcast on Friday on US-based National Public Radio. “There is an important distinction between making plans and training troops, and getting ready to do something,” Oudkirk said, on whether she thinks Beijing plans to attack Taiwan in the near future. Chinese officials have told Washington that “their preference is for peaceful reunification,
EXPOSED: Some Taipei wardens reported joining the trips out of peer pressure, while others said they were relieved it was made public so they could refuse, a city councilor said Nearly 30 percent of Taipei borough wardens have joined group tours to China that were partially funded by the Chinese government, leading prosecutors probing potential Chinese interference in January’s elections to question local officials, an investigation showed. Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City councilors Chien Shu-pei (簡舒培) and Chen E-jun (陳怡君) have reported cases of Taipei borough wardens inviting residents to join inexpensive privately organized group tours to China that were partially funded by the Chinese government. The six-day trips reportedly cost NT$10,000 to NT$15,000, the councilors said. An investigation by the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) showed that nearly 30 percent
ELIGIBLE FOR JANUARY: All presidential candidates and their running mates meet the requirements to run for office, and none hold dual citizenship, the CEC said Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator and vice presidential candidate Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈) is working with the Central Election Commission (CEC) to resolve issues with her financial disclosure statement, a spokesman for the candidate said yesterday, after the commission published the statements of all three presidential candidates and their running mates, while confirming their eligibility to run in the Jan. 13 election. Wu’s office spokesman, Chen Yu-cheng (陳宥丞), said the candidate encountered unforeseen difficulties disclosing her husband’s finances due to being suddenly thrust into the campaign. She is also the first vice presidential nominee to have a foreign spouse, complicating the reporting of