China's top negotiator tries to win young Taiwanese hearts
Central News Agency
2014-07-06 10:49 PM
Beijing, July 6 (CNA) China's lead negotiator with Taiwan used weather and Beijing's air quality to begin his chat with some 1,000 Taiwanese young people attending a summer camp in the Chinese capital Sunday. "At my home, we decided whether or not to open windows for the day based on the PM2.5 reading," Chen Deming said upon seeing a girl student wearing a mask at the gathering, referring to the particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or smaller that is used to measure air quality. "I'm not sure if you are not well or if the air quality in Beijing has not been good over the past few days," the head of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) said to the girl. She was one of the young people from Taiwan invited to the camp in the wake of a student campaign in March that occupied Taiwan's Legislature for three weeks in protest against the government's signing of an agreement with China in services trade. Sensing the young Taiwanese "power" in blocking a major trade deal between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, Chen and other senior Chinese officials have realized the importance of having a direct dialogue with Taiwan's university students. "I would suggest that (your Legislative Yuan) pass the trade-in- services pact first and find a solution through a regular negotiation mechanism if problems arise. or we can temporarily suspend the deal, and renegotiate," Chen said. In any way, he said both sides should implement the deal first and foremost because "I do not hope to see my beloved Taiwan's economy getting marginalized." A student asked him if talks over the trade-in-goods pact could be completed as soon as possible in spite of the service pact getting stalled at the ever-fighting Legislature. "Well, actually the ball is in the court of Taiwan," he replied, adding, "even if we could finish negotiations on the goods trade pact, wouldn't we have to wait for the bill on monitoring all cross- strait laws to pass?" He was politely accusing Taiwan's opposition politicians and student activists of putting forth all sorts of conditions for moving cross-strait ties ahead, because the monitor bill was a priority for Sunflower Movement leaders opposing the trade-in- services pact. Chen stressed that talks on trade-in-goods pact as well as on exchanging representative offices between the two sides were on-going, not "suspended" as some reports speculate. Chen used the word "bright" to describe the prospects of peaceful exchanges between Taiwan and China, insisting that China will not be deterred by "some minor issues" amid the "mainstream of historical development." Besides using the China's air quality issue to invite Taiwanese youths to participate in China's economic development which definitely includes green industries, Chen also talked about globalization and AI (Artificial Intelligence) Revolution and China's strengths and weaknesses under the major global trends. He challenged Taiwan's young people to "face the mainland (China), face the world" -- a move that he believes would increase their average income from the current "22K (NT$22,000) level" given to a college graduate entering the job market in Taiwan. He also shared with Taiwanese youth his worry that the younger generation in China, growing up as their country's economy was flying in the 1990s and the new century, seem neither as ambitious nor entrepreneurial as their father's generation. As he talked, quite a number of Taiwanese students were taking notes while others were taking a nap. One who responded to his call for Taiwanese youth to take advantage of the huge and growing China market said, while the Taiwanese market is small, "it has its own advantages too." "What's wrong with my wish for 'small happiness'?" (By Rita Cheng and S.C. Chang)
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