Chen attempts to cool mainland fever
Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian has asked his government to investigate any unauthorized contacts with the mainland and review the island's mainland trade policy in a bid to cool what he called was a mainland fever.
Chen met his "cabinet" and officials of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) late on Tuesday after last week's mainland visit by the opposition Nationalist Party, which is also known as the Kuomintang (KMT).
"Cross-Strait exchanges must be governed by existing laws," Chen was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his office.
The five-day visit by KMT vice chairman Chiang Pin-kung resulted in promises from Beijing of economic sweeteners and an offer to resume long-stalled dialogue.
During his visit, Chiang was feted with dinners and meetings with senior officials. "I believe the basis of our job is how to ensure the continued development of Taiwan's economy," Chiang said.
It was the KMT's first trip to the mainland since 1949 when the Nationalists fled to the island.
"Everything the KMT does is in the interests of the Republic of China, and the Taiwan people. Is that wrong?" KMT secretary-general Lin Feng-cheng told reporters on Wednesday, referring to the island's official title.
Chen, who has dismissed the consensus reached between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party as meaningless, cautioned over wider economic opening with the mainland.
"We can't keep opening up and ignore the most basic and important aspect of 'effective management'," Chen said.
Taiwan businesses have poured over US$100 billion into
the mainland since the late 1980s and the business community has long clamored
for closer trade ties with Beijing, the island's largest export market and
increasingly critical to its economic growth.
Taiwan authorities are launching an investigation into whether the main opposition Kuomintang party broke the law on dealing with cross-strait relations during a recent visit to the mainland, justice officials said.
A delegation led by KMT vice chairman P.K. Chiang made the party's first official visit to the mainland since 1949 last month in what the party said was a "bridge-building" mission aimed at easing cross-strait tensions.
The delegation met senior Chinese policymakers and reached a "10-point consensus" to seek closer ties in areas ranging from air transport to investment in agriculture.
"We are investigating whether the KMT has violated the criminal code which stipulates against reaching an agreement with any foreign governments without authorization," said Chen Chuei, a spokesman for the Taiwan High Court's public prosecutors' office.
If convicted, Chiang would face life in prison or a minimum seven-year jail term, Chen said.
The legal move irritated the KMT.
"A government unable to properly handle cross-strait problems now wants to use the law against us. This is ridiculous, isn't it?" KMT chairman Lien Chan said.
KMT legislator Huang Teh-fu said the investigation was nothing but "green terror". Green is the symbolic color of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
The investigation came a day after "president" Chen Shui-bian, known for his pro-independence stance, called a meeting on cross-strait issues in a bid to cool "mainland fever" after the KMT's high-profile visit.