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Democracy tops Taiwan's seven core interests: MAC head

2010/12/06 16:59:25

Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) Democracy, sovereignty, security and theright of free choice on the future of cross-Taiwan Strait relationsrank among Taiwan's seven core interests in engaging with China,Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan said Monday.

The right to meaningful participation in the internationalcommunity, the right not to be discriminated against, and the rightof the disadvantaged to survive were also key interests, saidTaiwan's top China policy-maker at an international symposium on"Cross-Strait Interactions and Power Relations in East Asia."

Democracy is Taiwan's "basic prerequisite in addressingcross-strait relations, " said Lai at the seminar, organized by theMAC and the Institute for National Policy Research.

"We are absolutely adamant that no development in cross-straitrelations and no connection between us will or can be allowed to harmthe democratic way of life of the Taiwanese people."

That is why Taiwan's people should be able to freely decide theirown future, she said.

Commenting on discrimination against the country, Lai said thatTaiwan, as a major trading nation and member of the World TradeOrganization (WTO) , had the right to enjoy fair competitive tradeconditions.

"That includes the right to participate in regional economicintegration and the right to negotiate and sign economic agreementswith our main trading partners," she said.

Lai highlighted two significant factors that have made an impacton East Asia's situation -- China's rise and U.S. President BarackObama's strategy of renewed U.S. engagement in Asia.

"Compared to the exchanges of artillery fire between the twoKoreas, the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait stands out asall the more precious an achievement."

But that achievement has not come easily, she contended.

"We consider the people to be the main actors in cross-straitrelations. Only if we understand, respect and safeguard the coreinterests of Taiwan's people will cross-strait relations be able todevelop in a more stable forward direction, " she said.

(By Chris Wang)