The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday called for understanding after receiving complaints about its request that a ceremony for a water supply project between Kinmen and China be postponed.
The Kinmen County Government asked the council to reconsider its request, while opposition politicians criticized the move.
The government this week asked the Kinmen County Government to delay the ceremony for the system — which is to deliver water from China’s Fujian Province to Kinmen — after Beijing pushed the East Asian Olympic Committee to strip Taichung of its right to host the East Asian Youth Games.
Beijing has been employing carrot-and-stick tactics to whitewash its attempts to squeeze Taiwan’s space for survival and development, and to undermine its national dignity and interests, the council said.
“On the one hand, it suppresses and belittles us, and on the other hand, it tries to show our people friendly gestures... This is utterly unacceptable,” it said, adding that the unveiling ceremony should be held at a more appropriate time.
Due to Kinmen’s limited water supply, the Executive Yuan in April 2013 approved a plan to allow the island to diversify its water sources, paving the way for a deal between the Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits in June of that year that the Chinese province would provide water to Kinmen.
According to the deal, Kinmen is to maintain its self-sufficiency at 70 percent and will be responsible for filtering and purifying the water provided by China.
Upon completion of the project and trial operations, the Kinmen County Government and Chinese authorities reached an agreement to hold separate unveiling ceremonies on Sunday next week, one in Kinmen and one in China.
However, the MAC stepped in.
“Although it is a good thing for both sides to be working to solve Kinmen’s water problem, Beijing’s increasing suppression of Taiwan in the international arena, most notably the Games incident, has driven up [anti-China] sentiment in society and cast cross-strait relations in a negative light,” MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said on Thursday.
Now is not an opportune time to hold the ceremony, Chiu said, urging Kinmen to “look at the big picture.”
Later on Thursday, Kinmen issued a statement asking the central government to reconsider its stance, saying the islands are in urgent need of water from China, because the water in its lakes and reservoirs could only sustain residents for another 118 days.
The council said that even without a ceremony, the system could still become operational as scheduled.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) called on the Democratic Progressive Party administration to refrain from punishing Taiwanese for its failure to manage cross-strait ties.
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