Law 'eases tensions' across Straits
The enactment of the Anti-Secession Law has eased cross-Straits tensions despite the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration's continuing secessionist activities, a senior Taiwan affairs official said on Friday.
Zhang Mingqing, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said a series of positive developments have occurred in the wake of the law's approval.
More and more Taiwanese people, including politicians and business people, have expressed their understanding of the bill while moving to improve bilateral ties, he said.
Between March 28 and April 1, a 34-member delegation of opposition Kuomintang (KMT) officials, headed by vice-chairman Chiang Pin-kung, made the party's first official mainland visit in 56 years.
KMT Chairman Lien Chan is also expected to visit the mainland in the near future, although the timetable has yet to be finalized.
James Song, chairman of Taiwan's People First Party also expressed a wish to visit the mainland.
"This has shown that some of Taiwan's politicians are committed to doing whatever they can to develop cross-Straits relations after the DPP failed to break the mainland-Taiwan stalemate," Zhang said.
He made the remarks when delivering a speech to military attaches from the 40-plus foreign embassies in Beijing on Friday.
Zhang emphasized the mainland is willing to talk with any Taiwanese party and organization as long as they uphold the one-China principle that both Taiwan and the mainland belong to one and the same China.
When speaking of cross-Straits economic and cultural exchanges, Zhang said the exchanges are not based on an equal footing. "Statistics show that cross-Straits trade volume amounted to US$78.3 billion last year, with the island's exports to the mainland hit US$57 billion," he said.
Meanwhile, Taiwanese companies have been allowed to set up more than 20 business representative offices on the mainland.
Taipei sets limits
But the Taiwan authorities have not allowed any mainland enterprises to set up business offices on the island, Zhang said.
As for cross-Straits journalism exchanges, the mainland has approved 11 Taiwanese media agencies to station correspondents on the mainland while only five mainland media organizations are allowed to cover news in Taiwan.
"On April 10, the Taiwan authorities temporarily banned journalists from the Xinhua News Agency and People's Daily from covering news on the island, arousing indignation from people on both sides of the Straits," he said.
In a further development, leading researchers on Friday strongly warned of further secessionist moves from the DPP administration.
Zhou Zhihuai, deputy director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said a usual political trick of the DPP is to woo voters by provoking cross-Straits confrontation.
"We should stay on high alert against provocative acts that endanger cross-Straits ties." The election for members of the island's "national assembly" is scheduled for May 14.
Zhou made the warning at a seminar sponsored by China Daily to provide a forum for academic discussion on current events. Six noted researchers on Taiwan studies attended the meeting, which is to become a regular event.
Yin Cunyi, deputy director of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at Tsinghua University, also cautioned that Taiwan authorities may try to block cross-Straits exchanges.
For instance, he said, Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian and his DPP administration are attempting to prevent opposition parties' from pushing for closer ties with the mainland. Chen asked KMT Chairman Lien Chan to obtain government authorization before embarking on his planned visit to the mainland.
(China Daily 04/16/2005 page1)