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Tsai nods at suggestion to speed up bill to monitor cross-strait talks

2017/02/05 21:23:10

Taipei, Feb. 5 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Sunday took on board a business leader's suggestion that her government ask the Legislature to expedite a bill on monitoring negotiations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Tsai's nod indicated that she attached great importance to the suggestion by Lin Por-fong (林伯豐), chairman of the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, Taiwan, which was put forward during a lunch meeting in Taipei between Tsai and Taiwanese business people operating in China, according to participants.

Lin said the president expressed concern about the current conditions for Taiwanese investors in China and how they would cope in the event of a trade war between China and the United States under President Donald Trump.

On their part, the Taiwanese business leaders said they were concerned about the state of cross-strait relations under Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government, said Lee Li-chen (李麗珍), deputy secretary general and spokesperson for the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

Since Tsai's inauguration last May, economic and trade talks between Taiwan and China have been suspended, to the great concern of Taiwanese business people in China.

Liao Wan-lung (廖萬隆), president of the Taiwanese Business Association in Zhangzhou, Fujian Province, said he was dissatisfied with the Tsai administration's "lack of action" on the follow-up negotiations to the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement.

Such talks cannot begin without the enactment of a relevant bill, which has been in the works since 2014, to allow monitoring of cross-strait negotiations, Liao said.

In response, Lee said that the bill "will be put on the legislative agenda," but did not give a timeframe.

She also explained that the government's New Southbound Policy does not seek to withdraw Taiwanese investment in China but rather is aimed at better cooperation with China in developing markets in Southeast Asia and India.

Kuo Shan-hui (郭山輝), honorary chairman of the Association of Taiwan Investment Enterprises on the Mainland, said that Tsai plans to propose a "new" China policy in the second half of this year in an effort to break the current stalemate.

Tsai made the statement during the luncheon, saying the latter half of 2017 would be a "better time" to launch the new policy, but she did not give any details, Kuo said.

Kuo said, however, that he was not optimistic about a breakthrough in cross-strait relations in the next year or two because of the stalemate over the "one China" policy and "1992 consensus."

Cross-strait dialogue has been halted since Tsai took office last May, due mainly to China's insistence that the "1992 consensus" remain the sole political foundation for the development of cross-strait exchanges and the Tsai administration's refusal to accept that precondition.

The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between China and Taiwan, which then had a Kuomintang government, that there is only one China, with both parties free to interpret what that means.

Rather than accepting the 1992 consensus, Tsai has proposed maintaining the status quo, which she says is based on the Republic of China (Taiwan) Constitution and previous agreements signed between Taiwan and China over the past years.

(By Miu Tzung-han and S.C. Chang)
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