Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-06-24 05:24 PM
During his first official trip to Taiwan June 25-28, the Chinese government official will visit several cities and counties and hold at least two meetings with Wang, during which officially no agreements will be signed.
Zhang’s visit comes as a response to Wang’s own trip to China last February. Their first meeting was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. The Taiwanese minister said the topics for discussion were cross-straits relations, regional economic integration and the eventual setting up of MAC and TAO representative offices in each other’s territory.
A handful of Taiwan Independence supporters protesting outside the MAC Tuesday morning demanded that Wang emphasize Taiwan’s sovereignty during his encounters with Zhang. They also described the MAC and the TAO as domestic organizations not suited to conduct talks between two different countries.
Zhang’s visit has also been condemned by other groups, especially after his ministry’s spokeswoman recently commented that Taiwan’s future should be decided by “all Chinese people.” Government and opposition in Taiwan responded by saying that only the people of Taiwan had the right to change the island’s status and decide its future.
The opponents of Zhang’s visit also questioned its timing as it comes while a special session of the Legislative Yuan might review the controversial trade-in-services pact with China. The critics interpreted his visit as an effort to raise pressure on Taiwan to pass the accord, which triggered an occupation of the legislative compound by students last March to April.
The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party said Tuesday it welcomed normal interaction between Taiwan and China, but only if the principles of equality and sovereignty were respected and the interests of Taiwan were not harmed. No political negotiations could take place during the meetings, DPP Chinese Affairs Department chief Chao Tien-lin said.
All meetings, talks and itineraries should be open to general scrutiny, the opposition official warned.
“The future of Taiwan must be decided by the 23 million of Taiwan,” Chao said, describing it as the long-standing position of the DPP backed by a consensus of the nation’s people. Wang should clearly relay the stance of the Taiwanese public to his Chinese counterpart, he said.
Since Zhang had said he was planning to meet with ordinary people in Taiwan and to understand grassroots opinions, he should use the opportunity to listen and hear what the public really thought, Chao said.
The DPP official said that since Taiwan was a democratic country, it was possible that some leading party members would turn out at protests against Zhang’s visit. Since the Chinese official was planning to visit Kaohsiung City, its DPP mayor, Chen Chu, was likely to meet him, reports said.
Earlier, DPP lawmakers said the Chinese minister should be expelled if he mentioned the “One China” framework. An association of Taiwanese business people who lost money in China promised it would follow Zhang everywhere he went and try to hand him a petition.
Wang said earlier he would relate common opinions in Taiwan to his counterpart. On Tuesday, he told reporters that an eventual summit between President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese leader Xi Jinping would not feature on the agenda for discussion. Taiwan suggested this year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in China as a possible venue for a cross-straits summit, but Beijing responded by saying an international event was not suitable.
During a visit to the opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union legislative caucus, Wang said there were no plans either to sign a joint declaration or to conclude a political agreement. The meeting served to start up a regular sequence of exchanges with visits and return visits between Taiwanese and Chinese officials, the minister said.