Brussels, Sept. 14 (CNA) Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan said Tuesday at the European Parliament that Taiwan and China must enhance mutual trust before initiating political and military negotiations, but that now is not the right time to embark on such negotiations under the current circumstances.
After giving a speech titled „Peace, Democracy and Prosperity:
The Utmost Conjunctions of ROC Mainland Policy and EU Development Experience, “ Lai, the first Taiwanese official to deliver a speech at the European Parliament, took questions from the European parliamentarians.
Andrey Kovatchev, for Bulgaria, asked whether, given that China has deployed more than 1,000 missiles aimed at Taiwan, the two sides will negotiate on this issue and if there is a hotline between Taiwan and China.
Lai replied that for the time being, negotiations between Taiwan and China are focused on economic and trade topics that are closely related to the wellbeing of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and that she expects these issues to continue to dominate cross-strait talks for the foreseeable future.
On the hotline issue, Lai said that since Taiwan and China have signed 14 agreements, the two governments have established direct channels of communication between the two sides with regard to the agreements.
Charles Tannock of the United Kingdom, who is chairman of the European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group, said that Taiwan’s defense minister told him during a visit to Taiwan last year that there is a hotline between retired military generals from Taiwan and China but no direct communication channel between the serving generals on the two sides.
Asked to give a definition of the cross-strait status quo, Lai said that it means „no unification, no independence, and no use of force.“
Taiwan identifies itself as a country titled the Republic of China, while China identifies itself as the People’s Republic of China. The two sides do not officially recognize each other because there is still a sovereignty dispute, Lai explained.
According to the ROC Constitution, the ROC is an independent, sovereign country and it maintains formal diplomatic relations with 23 countries, Lai noted, adding that instead of calling for mutual recognition, Taiwan is pursuing „mutual non-denial“ with China.
Since the sovereignty dispute has been shelved for the moment, what Taiwan’s government wants to do is create a long-term peaceful environment across the strait that will be conducive to the country’s development, she said.
President Ma Ying-jeou’s stance that Taiwan’s future must be determined by its people is widely accepted by the country’s people, Lai added. (By Tsao Yu-fan and Y.L. Kao) ENDITEM/J