A slew of trade deals negotiated by Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to sell NT$5.2 billion (US$168.5 million) worth of Taiwanese agricultural products to cities in southern China is under Beijing’s direct control, a Hong Kong newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The Chinese-language Sing Pao Daily News reported that the deals were negotiated through Chinese state-owned enterprises, and that they fell under the supervision of China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.
A deal negotiated in Hong Kong also falls under Beijing’s control, as it was handled through the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong and Macau, the report said.
Han last week visited Hong Kong, Macau, and Shenzhen and Xiamen to negotiate trade deals.
At a news conference on Tuesday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) praised Han’s trip for making achievements in the areas of trade, education and cultural exchanges, tourism and the establishment of mechanisms for cross-strait interactions.
TAO spokesman An Fengshan (安峰山) said the achievements were the embodiment of the concept that “both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one family.”
“This demonstrates that on the foundation of persisting with the ‘1992 consensus,’ there are vast prospects for cities on both sides of the Taiwan Strait,” An said, adding that he “welcomes the strengthening of city-to-city exchanges on this foundation.”
However, Sing Pao said that Han’s deal in Hong Kong was facilitated through the Hong Kong Liaison Office and made with a company under the supervision of Beijing using the Fujian Provincial Government as a proxy.
The deal in Shenzhen was made with a firm that is the city government’s sole appointed wholesaler of “grade A” agricultural products, it said, adding it was made under China’s National Development and Reform Commission.
“It is clear that the deals Han Kuo-yu reaped on his trip to China were gifts from the Chinese Communist Party [CCP],” the report said.
The report implied that Beijing intended to raise Han’s stature in Taiwan, thereby securing his victory should he run in next year’s presidential election.
One unnamed analyst said that, while Han’s deals look good on paper, Taiwan’s produce market is already overly reliant on China.
About 97 percent of exported Golden Diamond brand pineapples are sold to China and Beijing can control the fruit’s price, the analyst said.
The so-called “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the CCP that both sides acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
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