Taipei, Sept. 19 (CNA) The opposition Kuomintang (KMT) rebutted charges by the government led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Monday of damaging Taiwan's dignity and sovereignty after a group of eight local government chiefs met China's top Taiwan affairs official in Beijing the previous day.
Speaking at a news conference, Hu Wen-chi (胡文琦), deputy director of the KMT's Culture and Communications Committee, told the DPP government not to be jealous of what the local chiefs achieved during their meeting with Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun, and questioned what damage the ruling party thought has incurred.
The DPP government should tell Taiwan's people what solution it has to break the current impasse between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, instead of engaging in a smear campaign, he said.
During the meeting, Zhang responded positively to the delegation's proposals that China should continue purchasing farm products from the eight cities and counties represented, as well as enhancing bilateral tourist and educational exchanges with them.
"Which one of these three demands has harmed Taiwan's dignity and sovereignty?" Hu asked.
Tang Te-ming (唐德明), another deputy head of the committee, urged the DPP to stop denigrating the action of the local government chiefs.
"When the people need to survive, they will find the way," he said, demanding that the Tsai administration make the Taiwan people's livelihoods its top concern.
Although Tsai has reiterated that she will do her utmost to maintain the cross-Taiwan Strait status quo, relations between the two sides have plunged to a low ebb since Tsai assumed the presidency in May, thanks to her failure to recognize the "1992 consensus" reached between Beijing and the then-KMT administration in that year.
The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit agreement that there is only one China, with each side free to interpret what that means. Beijing insists that it serves as the political foundation for the two sides to engage in the absence of formal government-to-government contact.
The most obvious change in cross-strait dealings is the noticeable decrease in the number of Chinese group tourists coming to Taiwan in recent months. About 10,000 tourism-related operators took to the streets in Taipei earlier this month, demanding that the government come up with effective measures to help them cope with the fallout of the decrease in their businesses.
In light of what is described by the DPP as Beijing's "preferential treatment" for the eight cities and counties, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said that no preconditions should be attached to truly meaningful exchanges between Taiwan and China.
Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡), a DPP legislator, also criticized what he called "kowtowing" by the eight city and county heads to China.
Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) from the DPP claimed that such a two-pronged strategy will only create greater discontent toward Beijing among the people in Taiwan.
(By C.C. Hsieh and Flor Wang)ENDITEM/J