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Tsai says Beijing has agreed not to meddle in Taiwan's election

2015/06/26 20:56:52

Taipei, June 26 (CNA) Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the presidential candidate of opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said on Friday that China has promised it will not intervene in Taiwan's presidential election in 2016.

Tsai said China's Taiwan Affairs Office has made the promise as she tried to ease local farmers' fear that Beijing would stop buying Taiwan's farm products if the pro-independence DPP won the presidential election in January next year.

She did not elaborate on what the Taiwan Affairs Office had said and under what context.

But Tsai said she hopes what the Chinese authorities mean is that they know Taiwan is a democratic society, where it is normal to see different political parties take the baton as the ruling party, and therefore they will not change their Taiwan policy because of a power rotation.

"If (they) change (their) Taiwan policy because of party alternation, that is intervening in Taiwan's elections," the presidential candidate said during a meeting with fruit farmers in Taitung, an agricultural county in southeastern Taiwan.

Tsai, under the DPP's flag, lost to incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in the 2012 presidential election, with her China policy blamed as one of the reasons for her defeat.

Back in the 2012 election, there were rumors in Taitung before voting day that if Tsai won, China would close the doors Taiwanese farm products, frightening many local farmers, Taitung County Councilor Hung Tsung-kai (洪宗凱) and fruit farmer Liu Shih-chung (劉世宗) said in the Friday meeting with Tsai.

While most pineapples, custard apples and dragon fruits grown in Taitung are now shipped to the Chinese market, the fruit growers fear China would change its policy and cut off the export channel, Hung said.

"If farmers can't ever trust the distribution channel, they won't be able to do their job with ease," he said.

Facing such worries, Tsai repeated her stance is to maintain the status quo in relations with mainland China as well as the stability of Taiwan's external relations, and to convince the outside world that Taiwan is "a region-stabilizing partner."

She further highlighted her plan to help farmers sell their products.

Tsai added that the work of opening foreign markets must be done by the central government, instead of local authorities, citing the New Zealand government's active promotion of kiwifruit as an example.

Tsai also underlined Taiwan should not rely on one single market and must try to open more.

(By Tyson Lu and Elizabeth Hsu)