Wed, Oct 18, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Lai calls for new cross-strait plan, abated hostility

CAREFUL COMMENTS:Chinese military activities around the nation have subsided, and there are no signs of arrangements, the minister of defense said

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Premier William Lai answers lawmakers’ questions in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday called for a new cross-strait development plan, while urging Beijing to ease hostility toward Taipei and refrain from supporting specific groups in Taiwan.

During a plenary session of the legislature, Lai wished the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) success at its 19th National Congress, which is to begin today, while calling on Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) to adjust his strategy toward Taiwan.

“Beijing has tried to isolate Taiwan from the international community and divide Taiwanese society, and it has even supported specific groups, which, frankly speaking, is asking the wrong man for the job and is unhelpful for peaceful cross-strait development,” Lai said.

Lai was referring to a disturbance caused by pro-unification parties and groups allegedly linked to organized crime and having received funding from Beijing.

“Following the 19th National Congress, President Xi should properly assess past cross-strait interactions and continue mutually beneficial exchanges while adjusting ineffective and counterproductive moves,” Lai said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Yu-ling (呂玉玲) asked if Lai’s insistence on Taiwanese independence could provoke a response from Beijing, to which Lai said that sincerity and honesty prevent misunderstanding.

Lai, in his first legislative interpellation session on Sept. 26, reaffirmed his pro-independence stance, saying he is a “pragmatic independence politician.”

Meanwhile, China’s military activities have decreased and there is no apparent change to its foreign policies ahead of the congress, the Cabinet said.

Lu asked if China had made any unusual military arrangements ahead of the congress, to which Lai said there was a personnel reshuffle and the Cabinet had a good grasp of the situation, but refused to comment further.

Minister of National Defense Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) said that Beijing’s frequent military activities around Taiwan have relented since China’s National Day holidays, due in part to weather conditions and the long weekend.

There is no sign of any aggressive military arrangements, suggesting that Beijing’s attitude has eased, Feng said.

On the diplomatic front, Taiwan’s relations with its diplomatic allies are stable, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) said.

“There has always been a tug-of-war with China in foreign relations. It started long before May 20 last year [when President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was inaugurated]. It has always been like this. Sometimes China exerts more pressure, but it is relatively stable now,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, Lai said that Taiwan would interact with China on the principles of equality and mutual respect during the APEC summit, after KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) questioned if Taiwan’s participation under the name “Chinese Taipei” might damage the nation’s dignity.

Citing Tsai’s statement that her administration is willing to have friendly interactions with Beijing under the APEC framework, Lai said that it might be an affront to Taiwan’s sovereignty because the nation cannot join APEC as a state.

The public should support Tsai’s proposal, which seeks to achieve a common ground with Beijing to develop cross-strait relations on the right track, Lai said.

Taiwan and China are to interact as separate APEC members and economies, Lai said, avoiding the question if the interaction should be defined as a state-to-state.

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