Taiwan urges China not to set political conditions for exchanges
Taipei, Sept. 18 (CNA) Taiwan's mainland affairs authorities reiterated the government stance Sunday that no political conditions should be attached to exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait so that true understanding can be possible between them.
The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) released the statement in response to remarks by Yu Zhengsheng (俞正聲), chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), head of the Taiwan Affairs Office under China's State Council, in Beijing earlier in the day about cross-strait links.
During his meeting with a visiting Taiwanese delegation comprised of eight local government chiefs or deputy chiefs, Yu blamed the new government in Taiwan for having caused a great impact on the cross-strait relations that were in peaceful development before its inauguration in May.
Yu referred to the new government's refusal to recognize the "1992 consensus," which Taiwan's previous government led by Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Kuomintang (KMT) honored.
Ma managed to defrost the long-chilled cross-strait ties during his eight years in office with the tacit agreement reached between the two sides when the KMT was in power.
Under the 1992 consensus, both sides of the Taiwan Straits agreed that there is only one China on earth, but each side can interpret its meaning in its own way. For Taiwan, that "one China" is the Republic of China.
After Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 16, the government they formed refused to accept the consensus, saying instead it respects the "historical fact" that negotiators from the two sides met in Hong Kong in 1992, arriving at joint acknowledgments and understandings.
In its Sunday statement, the MAC said that since May 20, the government has repeated many times its stance of respecting the historical engagement in 1992, and has taken measures to promote a stable and peaceful development of cross-strait relations.
"Our firm stance has demonstrated a great deal of goodwill and we have tried hard to narrow the perception gap between two sides," the MAC said, urging mainland China to understand and respond in a pragmatic manner.
The government holds a positive attitude toward the cross-strait exchanges, and believes no political conditions should be set for the exchanges in the tourism and academic areas or for city-to-city exchanges, the MAC said.
Only by refraining from holding any political premise can the two sides truly know and understand each other, the MAC added.
The statement also said that it is the duty and goal of the two sides to maintain the existing achievements from cross-strait exchanges and to protect people's welfare, benefit and rights. Therefore, the two sides should begin communication and dialogue pragmatically so that they can promote a positive development in cross-strait ties.
Since cross-strait tourism facilitates the personnel exchanges and mutual understanding between the two sides, the government's stance of welcoming the visits by Chinese people remains unchanged, the MAC said.
The Cabinet-level council urged the two sides to renew dialogue or communications as soon as possible on issues concerning cross-strait travel based on the existing cross-strait tourism agreement.
Cross-strait dialogue have been suspended since the DPP government assumed power on May 20.
(By Lawrence Chiu and Elizabeth Hsu) ENDITEM/sc
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