The US wants to know the cross-strait aims of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration in its remaining months in office, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) told a news conference in Washington on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office on the last day of a visit to Washington, Hsia said he told the US that institutionalized cross-strait negotiations would continue through the Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS).
He said the US had expressed concern about two cross-strait ideas raised by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presumptive presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱): “one China, same interpretation” and signing a cross-strait peace agreement.
There had also been some concern about Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) stance on cross-strait relations, which some felt was not clear enough, Hsia said.
He said that the US is also attentive to how China views January’s presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan, and hopes that the “status quo” of cross-strait peace, stability and prosperity would continue and not be hindered by the elections.
He told reporters that he is scheduled to meet with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) in China in September.
“Agreements concerning taxation, flight safety and Chinese passengers’ transit in Taiwan are expected to be signed during the SEF-ARATS negotiations in August,” Hsia said.
Negotiations on an agreement on trade in goods, as well as issues on dispute resolution, will continue, while ecological concerns such as environmental protection and fish farming will be put on the table for the first time, he added.
When asked how negotiations could continue when a bill to establish a mechanism to oversee cross-strait agreements has not been passed by the legislature, Hsia said the 21 agreements inked so far have all been signed in accordance with 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).
Since the oversight bill remains stalled in the legislature, the council is simply following precedents in cross-strait affairs, he said.
“The Executive Yuan is doing its job, which is to exert pressure on the Legislative Yuan to take action when the signed agreements are later referred to the legislature,” he said.
Hsia also said that cross-strait communications had not been disrupted by former MAC deputy minister Chang Hsien-yao’s (張顯耀) resignation in August last year and the ensuing scandal about espionage allegations, which were subsequently dismissed.
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