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Han warned against falling into Beijing's unification trap

2019/03/24 18:58:17

Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜, right) / CNA file photo

Taipei, March 24 (CNA) Taiwanese scholars have voiced concern about Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu's (韓國瑜) recent meetings with Beijing's top officials in Hong Kong and Macau, saying the visits indirectly implied that Taiwan recognizes the "one country, two systems" formula imposed by China in the two territories.

Han said he would not talk about politics during his current visit to Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen and Xiamen, a trip the Kaohsiung mayor has advertised as one intended to get orders for his city's agricultural products.

But Han's visits to the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong and Macau -- China's highest authorities in charge of managing the "one country, two systems" model in the two territories -- have aroused suspicions in Taiwan, the scholars said.

"As a popularly elected local government chief in Taiwan, Han's meetings have undoubtedly aroused grave public concern that he has been trapped in the 'one country, two system' formula framed by Beijing," said Cross-Strait Policy Association Secretary-General Wang Chih-sheng (王智盛).

Through Han's visits, Beijing attempted to make the rest of the world believe that Taiwan's people back the formula while seeking to create conflict and divide Taiwan's society ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Wang charged.

Because Han was treated with the highest level of protocol ever accorded by Beijing to a local government head from Taiwan, it seems as those willing to bow to the "one country, two systems" formula can pick up huge economic benefits from Beijing, Wang said.

Wu Jieh-min (吳介民), an Academia Sinica associate research fellow, told CNA that the "one country, two systems" model being carried out in Hong Kong and Macau has deviated from what the late paramount Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平) had formulated.

The unification model now means an "overall takeover" by Beijing, which is fiercely shaking the foundation of freedom and the rule of law in Hong Kong and Macau, he said.

Through Beijing's arrangement, Han was able to walk into the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the two special administrative regions, Wu said.

This implies that Beijing has indirectly made Han recognize the "one country, two systems" formula as it seeks to push through a similar package broached by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) for Taiwan in January, he said.

On Saturday, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) slammed China for trying to create a "one country, two systems" atmosphere following Han's meetings with Beijing's top liaison officials in Hong Kong and Macau.

In addition, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council demanded that the Kaohsiung City government provide an explanation of Han's meetings with the Beijing officials.

In response to the widespread criticism, Han said "unnecessary comments are pointless."

Stressing that he would like to make more friends and secure orders for Taiwan's fruit and vegetable farmers, Han said his current visit to the four cities is purely business-oriented.

The Kaohsiung mayor, who went from Macau to Shenzhen on Sunday afternoon, could meet Taiwan Affairs Office Director Liu Jieyi (劉結一) in Xiamen on Tuesday.

(By Miao Chung-hen and Flor Wang)