Premier Lin Chuan (林全) yesterday denied that the new government’s “new southbound policy” aims to “bypass China” and reiterated that a good cross-strait relationship would require both sides’ effort and sincerity.
People First Party (PFP) Legislator Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) at a legislative question-and-answer session yesterday asked how Lin views China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Minister Zhang Zhijun’s (張志軍) remarks that the new southbound policy “is destined to fail when [the Democratic Progressive Party government] aims to replace Taiwan’s [investment in China] with it.”
Lin said the new policy is not an attempt to counter China.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
“We also look forward to an improved cross-strait relationship and friendly interactions, which are no impediment to our exchanges with other regions,” the premier said.
He denied that the southbound policy is meant to “bypass China,” saying: “You would not stop making other friends just because you already have one,” and reiterated that improving cross-strait relations requires goodwill from both sides of the Strait.
Chen then said that if a good choice is made to head the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) — a position that has yet to be decided, with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) rumored to be possible candidates — the cross-strait relationship could thaw, “especially at a time when we seem to be entering a cold standoff with China.”
She said that Chinese state-run newspaper the People’s Daily in an article published on Wednesday last week derided the idea of a “second-track” mechanism for cross-strait exchanges, saying that “no track, be it first or second, would be possible if a political foundation [which for Beijing would be the ‘1992 consensus’] is nonexistent.”
Chen also brought up the TAO’s repudiation of what Mainland Affairs Council Minister Katharine Chang (張小月) said late last month about China being Taiwan’s “neighbor.”
“In response to Chang’s remarks, the TAO said Taiwan and China are not neighbors, but belong to ‘one family,’ and accused the ‘neighbor’ analogy of being ‘pregnant with Taiwanese independence insinuations,’” Chen said.
Lin did not respond directly when asked whether he thinks the two nations are “neighbors or one family,” but said that the cross-strait relationship “is just the cross-strait relationship.”
Separately yesterday, KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) questioned Lin over Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) alleged promise to open Taiwan’s market to Japanese food products from five Japanese prefectures that were banned after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Huang alleged that Hsieh said at a news conference in Japan on Monday that foodstuffs from parts of Japan that were banned over fears of irradiation would soon be able to enter Taiwan.
“I have not read the report [about Hsieh’s remarks], but the government’s position is that there is no set agenda for the lifting of the ban on Japan’s food products from radiation-affected zones,” Lin said.
According to a report from the Central News Agency, Hsieh cited President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) call to apply “scientific method and international standards” when it comes to food import issues that “concern the health of Taiwanese,” reiterating the need for “cautious handling” to ensure that imported foodstuffs do not exceed safe limits on radioactive contaminants, “which might take five or six months [before a final conclusion could be made].”
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