MAC de­nies stalling talks on new main­land en­voy of­fices

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Tai­wan has al­ways been ac­tively ne­go­ti­at­ing with China to set up rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fices in each other’s ter­ri­tory, the Main­land Af­fairs Coun­cil (MAC) has said, deny­ing claims from a Bei­jing of­fi­cial that Taipei was stalling talks.

While the idea of es­tab­lish­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fices was first pro­posed by China, Tai­wan has since been ac­tive in push­ing for crossstrait ne­go­ti­a­tions on re­lated is­sues, said the MAC, Tai­wan’s top crossstrait agency, in a state­ment.

The MAC’s re­marks were in re­sponse to a lo­cal media re­port ear­lier in the day that Zhang Zhi­jun, head of the Tai­wan Af­fairs Of­fice un­der China’s State Coun­cil, was blam­ing Tai­wan for stalled ne­go­ti­a­tions on set­ting up the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fices.

“It’s Tai­wan’s prob­lem,” Zhang was quoted as say­ing in the United Daily News re­port. “We don’t un­der­stand why Tai­wanese peo­ple are afraid of be­ing eaten by us.”

Deny­ing Zhang’s claims, the MAC said that since Jan­uary 2013, both sides of the Tai­wan Strait have held eight rounds of ne­go­ti­a­tions. The Jan­uary 2013 meet­ing marked the first ne­go­ti­a­tions on es­tab­lish­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fices in each other’s ter­ri­tory, with the gov­ern­ment in Taipei to be rep­re­sented in China by its semi-of­fi­cial ne­go­ti­at­ing agency, the Straits Ex­change Foun­da­tion (SEF) and Bei­jing to be rep­re­sented by the As­so­ci­a­tion for Re­la­tions Across the Tai­wan Straits (ARATS).

Both sides have ex­changed views on top­ics such as the pro­posed func­tions of the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fices, pro­tec­tion of staff and a code of con­duct, but fur­ther ne­go­ti­a­tions are still needed be­cause of the com­plex­ity of the is­sues, the MAC ex­plained.

The Tai­wan gov­ern­ment has also been mulling mea­sures in re­sponse to China’s con­cerns over is­sues re­lat­ing to of­fice se­cu­rity, the MAC said.

Cit­ing re­cent polls, the MAC said that about 70 per­cent of Tai­wanese peo­ple sup­port the idea of rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fices. There­fore, there is no such thing that “Tai­wanese peo­ple fear be­ing eaten by China,” it said.

The MAC ex­pressed hope that both sides will main­tain a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude on set­ting up rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fices and con­tinue to push for them.

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