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Ma listening to public, says spokesman in rebutting Tsai's charges

2012/05/14 17:57:37

Taipei, May 14 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou has taken public opinion into account in making policy and will continue listening to the people, the Presidential Office said Monday in response to an open letter by former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen.

In a letter posted on her Facebook page, Tsai accused Ma of lacking in sincerity in communicating with the public and being unable to rationally rally people behind his policies, which she said has led to discontent in society.

The policies cited included a proposal to lift a ban on imports of American beef containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, fuel and electricity price hikes, and an attempt to impose capital gains taxes on stock investments.

Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi said the policy on U.S. beef was decided after consulting experts in three separate meetings, and the plan to raise electricity rates will be introduced in three phases instead of all at once in response to public opinion.

The Cabinet also discussed the tax issue thoroughly before presenting its proposal on taxing stock gains, he said.

Taiwan's opposition parties have argued, however, that the meetings held on the beef issue were not transparent and were held simply to support a predetermined conclusion.

Tsai also wrote in her letter that the "one country, two areas" concept advocated by the government to define relations between Taiwan and China was not consistent with the country's Constitution and could not be applied to cross-strait ties.

But Fan Chiang said the concept has been the government's position since 1991.

Fan Chiang said the additional articles of the Constitution passed in 1991 and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area introduced the following year both clearly stated that Taiwan and the mainland are two areas under the Republic of China.

While Tsai also urged Ma to speak up for Taiwan and highlight its sovereignty in his inauguration speech, Fan Chiang said Ma's position has been to maintain the status quo of no unification, no independence and no military action across the Taiwan Strait.

That has been the president's policy over the past four years and will not change in the next four during his second term, Fan Chiang said.

He also said Ma voiced his desire after the Jan. 14 presidential election to hold talks with leaders of opposition parties, including the DPP, to build a consensus on major issues in society.

(By Lin Shen-hsu, Kelven Huang and Kay Liu)