The government needs to have an understanding of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) meetings with Chinese officials before deciding whether to take action against him, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said yesterday.
Han’s meetings have drawn criticism at home and abroad, but the Ministry of the Interior and the council need to know whether the visits were political in nature before deciding whether he should be reprimanded, Chen told reporters at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
The ministry has established an ad hoc committee to look into the visits, and it hopes that Han would cooperate with the committee by clarifying the nature of his talks with Chinese officials, he added.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
Han’s visits to Hong Kong, Macau and Shenzhen and Xiamen over the past five days were orchestrated by Beijing to convince him that China’s “one country, two systems” framework is successful, Chen said.
Commenting on draft legislation proposed by the council to limit visits to Hong Kong and Macau by commissioners and mayors, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) said that it appeared to be aimed specifically at Han, adding that it would not conform with the nation’s style of enacting legislation.
Chen denied that Han was the sole motivation for proposing the draft legislation, saying that it was also intended as a response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) call in a speech on Jan. 2 for Taiwan to be united with China under the “one country, two systems” framework.
Legislative proposals are responses to long-term and short-term issues, and Han was merely a short-term concern, he added.
The government is mulling a Hong Kong and Macau version of 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), Chen said.
He also rejected a rumor that Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) had informed him ahead of time about Han’s plan to visit China’s liaison office in Hong Kong.
When he and Yeh met prior to Han’s trip, they only discussed the need for supplemental documentation if Han planned to meet with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Liu Jieyi (劉結一), Chen said.
Han’s visit to the liaison office was a serious breach of protocol that sparked controversy at home and abroad, he said, adding that none of the nation’s mayors or commissioners, past or present, had visited the office before.
Asked about hosting Xing Kuishan (邢魁山), head of the Taiwan affairs department under the Chinese State Council’s Hong Kong office, at a dinner in Taipei’s Maokong (貓空) area after Xing assumed his post, Chen said that his intention at the time was to assert Taiwan’s sovereignty.
Chen shrugged off criticism by the KMT that he is a “Ming Dynasty-era secret police officer.”
“We are very honest and reasonable at the Republic of China Mainland Affairs Council. There is no such dynastic-era nomenclature that applies to us,” he said.
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