Peace may de­te­ri­o­rate post-Ma: China

Of­fi­cial warns agree­ments may col­lapse if ‘1992 Con­sen­sus’ fails


Main­land China’s top of­fi­cial ne­go­tia­tor with Tai­wan yesterday stated that the re­sults of past cross- strait agree­ments could “col­lapse” if the “1992 Con­sen­sus” is not up­held, as the two sides con­cluded two new agree­ments yesterday in Fuzhou.

Zhang Zhi­jun ( ), head of China’s Tai­wan Af­fairs Of­fice (TAO, ) spoke dur­ing a press con­fer­ence fol­low­ing the ink­ing of an avi­a­tion safety and dou­ble-tax­a­tion ex­emp­tion agree­ment signed be­tween Tai­wan’s Straits Ex­change Foun­da­tion (SEF) and China’s As­so­ci­a­tion for Re­la­tions Across the Tai­wan Straits (ARATS). His re­marks put the in­sti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of crossstrait agree­ments un­der scru­tiny as main­land China’s re­marks ap­pear to be di­rected at Tai­wan’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates and whether or not their pro­posed poli­cies are deemed ac­cept­able for main­tain­ing cur­rent ties. The “1992 Con­sen­sus” refers to an un­der­stand­ing be­tween the main­land and Tai­wanese gov­ern­ments that there ex­ists only one China, but both gov­ern­ments in­ter­pret that sep­a­rately.

“We hope the Tai­wanese peo­ple make the cor­rect de­ci­sion,” Zhang said.

SEF Chair­man Lin Join-sane ( ) ex­pressed the Tai­wanese gov­ern­ment’s in­ten­tion to con­clude agree­ments in the next high- level talks on trades in goods, dis­pute res­o­lu­tion mech­a­nisms, co­op­er­a­tion in en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion as well as a deal that would al­low main­land trav­el­ers to make flight trans­fers through Tai­wanese air­ports.

Lin at­tempted to down­play media spec­u­la­tion that its 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions would change the work­ing dy­nam­ics of cross- strait re­la­tions, say­ing that both ne­go­ti­at­ing bod­ies were opt­ing to “serve the peo- ple” as their pri­mary ob­jec­tive.

Lin said he was con­fi­dent that the peo­ple would con­sider how their de­ci­sions would re­flect upon cross-strait re­la­tions when they cast their bal­lots.

Dou­ble Tax­a­tion Ex­emp­tion

Yesterday’s dou­ble tax­a­tion ex­emp­tion agree­ment is aimed at cor­po­rate en­ti­ties in­vest­ing in China that are man­aged in Tai­wan or through a third ter­ri­tory and will pro­tect them from crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion for tax eva­sion. Many Tai­wanese busi­nesses went through third- party chan­nels be­fore com­merce be­tween both sides was le­gal­ized. Pro­po­nents of the pol­icy, in­clud­ing Tai­wan’s Min­istry of Fi­nance, ar­gue that tax ex­emp­tions will save busi­nesses NT$3.9 bil­lion an­nu­ally. They also be­lieve that the agree­ment will spur in­vest­ment into Tai­wan from for­eign com­pa­nies that want to es­tab­lish a foothold in main­land China.

Avi­a­tion Safety

The avi­a­tion safety agree­ment on the other hand would al­low car­ri­ers from both sides to uti­lize lo­cally avail­able main­te­nance and re­pair fa­cil­i­ties from Tai­wan and main­land China. Car­ri­ers that op­er­ate cross-strait flights will now be able to ap­point lo­cal main­te­nance plants for in­spec­tions in­clud­ing air­wor­thi­ness, main­te­nance ser­vice and flight safety. Such mea­sures are thought to ben­e­fit car­ri­ers by re­duc­ing costs and time for re­pairs, as well as re­duc­ing the chance of flight de­lays for cus­tomers.

Flight Trans­fer Agree­ment De­layed

Mean­while, a key ne­go­ti­a­tion take­away for the Tai­wanese side was shelved un­til the next ne­go­ti­a­tion ses­sion as China cited “tech­ni­cal de­tails” for rea­sons why a tourist flight trans­fer agree­ment for Chi­nese pas­sen­gers was not among con­cluded mea­sures yesterday.

Tai­wan has been push­ing for main­land China to al­low its cit­i­zens to use Tai­wanese air­ports to con­tinue on to fur­ther travel des­ti­na­tions as is com­mon in­ter­na­tional prac­tice, thereby in­creas­ing rev­enue for its air­line car­ri­ers.

“One can­not sim­ply walk through an open door,” a top Chi­nese ne­go­tia­tor stated.


Straits Ex­change Foun­da­tion (SEF) Chair­man Lin Join-sane of Tai­wan, left, and As­so­ci­a­tion for Re­la­tions across the Tai­wan Straits (ARATS) Chair­man Chen Dem­ing, right, ex­change gifts yesterday in Fuzhou. Tai­wan and China signed two agree­ments re­lat­ing to tax ex­emp­tions and flight safety. Af­ter the meet­ing, Lin pre­sented his coun­ter­part Chen with a piece of artis­tic pot­tery.

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