The Resumption of Cross-Strait Talks: A puppet show

Regarding the resumption of cross-strait talks between the SEF and ARATS, the DPP would like to make the following statement:

1. Chinese tourists, and chartered flights negotiations are products and extension of the progress of the DPP


During the DPP administration, there had been a total of six meetings that discussed on the issue of allowing Chinese tourists into Taiwan, and eight meetings that dealt with the terms of chartered passenger and cargo flights. This included agreements allowing the opening of four daily cargo flights, with a total of more than a thousand cargo flights annually.

However, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) arbitrarily reduced the topics of discussion from three to two, allowing China to dominate the topics on the negotiation table, sacrificing the immense benefits that cargo flights would have brought for Taiwan. The resumption of talks between the SEF-ARATS is basically a ‘puppet show.’ The reality is that all the technical and practical terms of the negotiations had already been resolved under the DPP administration. In short, the opening of Chinese tourists and negotiations on charted flights are an extension of the achievements that the DPP administration initiated.

2. The DPP opposes closed door ‘secret’ cross-strait negotiations

National Security Council Secretary General Su-chi flew to Hong Kong immediately following the conclusion

of the presidential election and makes one wonder if he engaged in any closed door secret meetings with

agents of Beijing. Taiwan is a democratic country that adheres to strict rule of law that requires cross-strait

negotiations to be transparent and officially authorized by the government. Therefore, ‘secret meetings’ cannot

replace the role of the SEF and the ARATS and any secret negotiations, authorized or not, run contrary to

the nature and the rules of Taiwan’s democracy and Taiwan’s legal system. President Ma must explain to the

public whether Su-chi made several visits to Hong Kong to engage in cross-strait ‘secret meetings.’

3. The Ma administration must not make decisions in haste that would sacrifice Taiwan’s comparative advantages and national interests.

The Ma administration has set the date of implementation of charted passenger flights and Chinese tourists for July 4th. This is a huge mistake that unfortunately pressures the Ma administration to seek quick results without consideration of its long-term consequences. The result is that the Ma government has traded off issues related to Taiwan’s political reality and its sovereignty in exchange to limited economic benefits. The Ma administration should not negotiate for the sake of negotiations, and for the sake of reaching any sort of agreement, by sacrificing Taiwan’s sovereignty and dignity, which would effectively in the long-run also sacrifice Taiwan’s comparative advantages and national interests.

4. Cross-strait negotiation agenda must first reach a consensus domestically amongst all parties.

Additional and unexpected topics of ‘joint oil exploration’ and ‘establishment of liaison offices’ arose in the

latest SEF-ARATS talks. This is highly inappropriate as these issues have never been discussed in Taiwan

and involves matters of national security, diplomacy, economics, and the fishing industry. SEF cannot

negotiate terms and issues that have not been approved by MAC and have no consent or knowledge of the

Taiwanese public. In short, SEF’s decision to engage in talks over these two additional topics when they have

not yet been discussed in detail in Taiwan is very inappropriate.

5. The Ma Administration has not protected Taiwan’s sovereignty and dignity

During the Wang-Koo talks of 1998, then SEF Chairman Koo Chen-fu requested then PRC President Jiang Zemin to acknowledge the presence and existence of the Republic of China. Today, however, Chiang Pin-kung has failed to use similar attitude when dealing with Hu Jintao, and has even retracted to using political language such as the “1992 consensus” to blur the existence of the Republic of China, demonstrating that the Ma Administration’s political platform has regressed to pre-1998 standards. The SEF-ARATS talks must not diminish Taiwan’s sovereignty and Taiwan must not lose its dignity. Taiwan should insist on equal treatment and mutual respect.

6. The SEF representatives must avoid any conflict of interest

SEF Vice Chairman and Secretary-General Kao Koong-lian currently serves as one of Taiwan’s top representatives in the SEF-ARATS negotiations while holding a consultant position in a Chinese government sponsored organization. This has been severely detrimental to Taiwan on several levels. It has tainted the reputation and credibility of the SEF-ARATS talks to have someone who has served on both ends to hold a negotiating position on Taiwan’s behalf. Furthermore, SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and Deputy Vice Secretary-General Pang Chien-kuo each has served as Chairman and consultant, respectively, for the Sinocon Industrial Standards Foundation (SISF) and should explain how they will refrain from manipulating negotiations for person gains so as not to invoke public suspicion. The SISF is a foundation that aims to set up joint technology standards for various electronic products between Taiwan and China.

7. Adequate preventative measures should accompany cross-straits exchange

Increased exchange of activity between Taiwan and China should happen with complete and adequate

preventative measures to reduce external effects and minimize impact to society. These measures can include

but are not limited to public safety, national security, quality-control of domestic goods, and well-being of the

general public. Benefits should extend to all citizens and not be concentrated on one particular group of

people or individual, resulting in a monopoly of cross-strait business relationships.

8. DPP advocates for a ‘government to government’ approach in negotiations

The SEF engaged in talks with the ARATS that included topics not authorized by the MAC, which is an indication that the SEF and MAC are not on the same page. In addition, China has removed the ‘white glove’ element of these negotiations, directly incorporating officials of the Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State Council into the ARATS, while the MAC and the SEF are made up of different representatives, with government officials assuming consultant roles to enter in negotiations with China’s unified body. Future negotiations should have the MAC as the official channel to negotiate with China. The DPP has always advocated for a ‘government to government’ approach in cross-strait negotiations in order to protect Taiwan’s collective national benefit and ensure that these negotiations are based on equal footing between Taiwan and China.