Washington, Aug. 28 (CNA) Taiwan is not considering signing a cultural agreement with China for the time being but is seeking more "genuine exchanges" of ideas between the two sides, Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said Tuesday in Washington, D.C.
Lung told reporters following a speech at George Washington University that it does not really matter whether Taiwan inks such a pact with China, because Taiwan is a "civil society" and it is the civil sector that will decide how the country interacts with China.
However, she said it is important that there should be more exchanges of ideas across the Taiwan Strait.
Lung, also an essayist and scholar renowned in the Chinese-speaking world, stressed that such exchanges must be very "genuine."
"If we interact on one hand but (China) takes opposite action on the other," it would be meaningless, she noted.
A cross-strait culture pact will be considered only when it contains solid and meaningful content, said Lung.
She suggested that "empathy" is at the core of how the two sides should deal with each other.
"If Taiwan is a tiny motorboat, then China is the aircraft carrier... We need to be patient for an aircraft carrier to turn around. At the same time, we would hope that China would understand what the Taiwanese really care about," she said.
According to the minister, Taiwanese care about "freedom," including "the freedom to write what we think, to paint what we see, to sing what really moves us ... and to reject leaders who we distrust."
China's Culture Minister Cai Wu has offered a four-point plan that includes the institutionalization of bilateral cultural exchanges, collaboration on development and promotion of Chinese culture, establishment of a platform for further exchanges, and strengthening cooperation between the creative industries on the two sides of the strait.
However, Taiwan has been tepid about a formal agreement due to the complex and delicate national identity issues involved.
Her visit, which was also her first trip to the U.S. since becoming culture minister in February, was also expected to include an address on Taiwan's soft power and on Taiwan-China relations at the National Press Club, as well as visits to the Smithsonian Institution, the TV station WETA and the Kennedy Center.
She was also scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with academics from the Brookings Institution.
Lung is scheduled to travel to Canada before wrapping up her trip Sept. 4.
(By Lin Shu-yuan and Kendra Lin)