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Briefing Room

MAC News Briefing Sep 03, 2009

  • Date:2009-09-03

Subjects:
  • The visit to Taiwan by the Dalai Lama is to display religious concerns; government position on promoting cross-strait exchange activities remains unchanged.
  • The MAC’s budget for 2010 should increase to deal with its expanded workloads stemming from cross-strait exchanges
  • Establishment of the “Economic Cooperation Committee under the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Cooperation Council” and the “Hong Kong-Taiwan Business Cooperation Committee” has not been affected by the Dalai Lama’s Taiwan visit
  • The MAC does not yet have a list of Taiwanese individuals invited by mainland China to participate in mainland China’s National Day celebrations

MAC Regular Press Briefing

  Briefer : Johnnason Liu, Deputy Minister
Date : September 3, 2009
Location : Taipei

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

The visit to Taiwan by the Dalai Lama is to display religious concerns; government position on promoting cross-strait exchange activities remains unchanged.

QUESTION: During the Dalai Lama’s Taiwan visit, he always emphasized democratization and even suggested and urged protesters to go to mainland China to launch protests over there because mainland China is in dire need of the freedom of speech. Will such talk influence cross-strait relations? Also, will the Dalai Lama’s Taiwan visit cause changes in cross-strait interactions?

DEPUTY MINISTER LIU: In conducting cross-strait exchanges we particularly emphasize both democracy and freedom. These are the important foundations of cross-strait exchanges and are also universal values. This is something mainland China should have a good understanding of. The visit to Taiwan by the Dalai Lama is to display religious concerns. The Taiwanese people accept, recognize and appreciate his concerns. We hope such a simple trip will not affect the cross-strait mutual trust that has been so difficultly built up, or other aspects of cross-strait relations that have positively developed. Our government’s positive stand remains the same. We will continue to promote cross-strait interactions and exchanges. Various sectors have concerns about whether or not the exchange activities to be conducted in Taiwan by mainland Chinese groups might be affected by such a visit. In this regard, our understanding is that they have been postponed, not canceled.

QUESTION: Mainland China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) has issued a statement regarding the Dalai Lama’s Taiwan visit saying it will certainly have an adverse effect on cross-strait relations. In addition, the statement emphasizes that the Mainland side will monitor the words and deeds of the Dalai Lama while he is here. Does the MAC also feel this visit will negatively impact cross-strait relations?

DEPUTY MINISTER LIU: The proposed schedule for the visit to Taiwan by the Dalai Lama focuses on praying for the flood victims to show his concerns for the spiritual life of the victims. The purpose of this visit is no different from that of previous visits. It is a trip purely aimed to display religious concerns. The Dalai Lama’s sincere concerns about flood victims can be felt by everyone. We certainly hope this visit will have no impact on cross-strait relations.

The MAC’s budget for 2010 should increase to deal with its expanded workloads stemming from cross-strait exchanges

QUESTION: According to media reports, the MAC’s overall 2010 budget will increase by NT$120 million. Can the MAC give us some more details on this?

DEPUTY MINISTER LIU:

■ In view of the fact that the issues to be discussed in cross-strait negotiations have expanded into many new areas and the fact that the MAC is the agency responsible for handling cross-strait affairs, the MAC must work in coordination with other relevant agencies in addressing and preparing different issues in relevant areas. As such, there is a need for the MAC to increase many expenditures in the budget.

■ In addition, due to the increase in the number of cross-strait institutionalized negotiations, interactions of various kinds—including pre-event communications on related administrative tasks and others—will inevitably increase. Furthermore, after the signing of agreements, the contacts, interactions and cooperation between both sides will also increase. All these will require the MAC to participate in. As the workload increases, the expenditures to be paid by the MAC will also increase.

■ With regard to the dissemination of policy information and the forging of consensus among the various sectors of society, both sides have so far signed nine agreements through negotiations, and there will be more issues in the future that will have to be explained to the people. To listen more to public opinions on Mainland policy while at the same time making the Taiwan public aware of the current concrete results of government policy measures and related agreements, the government must explain related matters to the public through multiple channels to enable the people to gain understanding of the situation. Different methods—including academic research conferences or symposia—will be used to allow the government to face different people. The expenditure budget will be worked out accordingly.

■ When the MAC deliberates on next year’s fiscal budget, in addition to the considerations mentioned above, we will consult the implementation of this year’s budget to assess the upcoming year’s workload. If there will be an increase in workload next year, budget adjustments will be made to deal with the situation.

■ In addition, in order to upgrade relations between Taiwan and Hong Kong and expand concrete effects stemming from exchange activities between Taiwan and Hong Kong, we hope to set up a civilian organization. The cost of establishment and operation of this organization is initially estimated at NT$50 million. We hope to create a better platform on a small scale for Taiwan-Hong Kong relations. This will not only raise the representative status of the Bureau of Hong Kong Affairs in its operations in Hong Kong but will also give more concrete substance to various forms of exchanges between Taiwan and Hong Kong. For this reason, the portion of the 2010 budget devoted to this item is rather large.

Establishment of the “Economic Cooperation Committee under the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Cooperation Council” and the “Hong Kong-Taiwan Business Cooperation Committee” has not been affected by the Dalai Lama’s Taiwan visit

QUESTION: Has the Dalai Lama’s Taiwan visit called a halt to the formation of the “Economic Cooperation Committee under the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Cooperation Council” and the “Hong Kong-Taiwan Business Cooperation Committee”? How much progress has been made in setting up the former entity? Will it be set up within this year? Have some people been designated to serve in this organization?

DEPUTY MINISTER LIU: Both sides have currently engaged in an exchange of views on these two organizations to a considerable extent and they have not been affected by the Dalai Lama’s trip to Taiwan. We are at the planning stage right now and within the year the organizations should be up and running. Thus we hope to receive budgetary support so that the organization can be established smoothly and begin operations next year. This is aimed at upgrading relations between Taiwan and Hong Kong. Consultations on selecting personnel are still ongoing. We will make a public announcement once decisions have been made.

The MAC does not yet have a list of Taiwanese individuals invited by mainland China to participate in mainland China’s National Day celebrations

QUESTION: Mainland China will extend invitations on a broad scale to Taiwanese individuals to attend its national day celebrations on October 1. Does the MAC have a list of those who will take part in such activities?

DEPUTY MINISTER LIU: Currently, we have no concrete name list. Compared with previous years, this year mainland China will also probably receive a good number of people in its invitation list. With regard to this, we have previously made an explanation and expressed the hope that Taiwanese people who in the past had held important posts in the government agencies and had access to sensitive information as part of their job responsibilities can give some especially cautious consideration before accepting any invitation.

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