ARATS visit an
affront: pan-green camp
UNWELCOME GUEST: The TSU said ARATS Chairman
Chen Deming’s planned tour of the planned ‘free economic pilot zones’ are meant
to push Ma to expedite them
By Lee Yu-hsin and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writer
Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen
Deming’s (陳德銘) eight-day visit to Taiwan starting today is an affront to
Taiwanese sovereignty and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should cancel the visit
immediately, the pan-green camp said yesterday.
Chen’s group, including ARATS officials and Chinese business leaders, will focus
on Taiwan’s “free economic pilot zones,” a project under which six harbors and
the planned Taoyuan Aerotropolis will be designated as models of liberalization.
The pan-green camp is concerned that the project will spur a mass influx of
Chinese white--collar workers, Chinese agricultural products and investment in
local businesses previously off-limits to Chinese capital.
Chen’s group will visit Pingtung County and Greater Kaohsiung tomorrow, then
travel north, stopping in Greater Tainan, Chiayi County, Greater Taichung and
Hsinchu County, finally returning to Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市).
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) held a press conference in which it alleged
that Chen’s visit was aimed at applying political pressure on Taiwan’s economy
and attempting to force Ma’s hand on the cross-strait service trade agreement
and the free economic pilot zones.
Chen’s visit under the guise of “economic interaction” is not so simple a
matter, TSU caucus whip Hsu Chung-hsin (許忠信) said.
His plan to visit the Taoyuan Aerotropolis, Taipei Harbor, Greater Taichung
Harbor, Greater Kaohsiung Harbor and the Pingtung Biological and Agricultural
Science Park, designated as free economic pilot zones, indicated Chinese
pressure on the Ma administration to expedite the project and the cross-strait
service trade agreement.
TSU Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) said that Taiwan has its own laws, and all
accords or treaties with foreign nations must be supported by the public before
they can be ratified by the Legislative Yuan.
“We hope that Chen will not try to tell Taiwan what to do when he visits,” Huang
TSU deputy whip Huang Wen-ling (黃文玲) also said that Chen’s arrival drew more
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) officials to visit him than Ma, including former
KMT vice president Lien Chan (連戰) and former KMT chairman Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄),
former Straits Exchange Foundation chairman (SEF) Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), Taipei
Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), Greater Taichung
Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), as well as People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong
(宋楚瑜) and the owners of large firms, such as Want Want and Foxconn.
It is evident that Ma’s influence over cross-strait policy is waning fast and
that corporations are beginning to sideline the Ma administration, she said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) echoed the
TSU’s sentiments and called on people to protest Chen’s visit.
Gao called for the government to cancel Chen’s visit as a protest against
China’s demarcation of an East China Sea air defense identification zone (ADIZ),
which is a serious affront to Taiwanese sovereignty.
Meanwhile, in answer to the call to shadow Chen’s entourage for the duration of
his visit and show Chen how strongly Taiwanese resent the cross-strait service
trade agreement and the setting up of the economic free pilot zones, the Black
Island National Youth Front yesterday said that it would be greeting Chen at
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport today at 11am.
The group said that it hoped to show Chen how Taiwanese resent Chinese influence
on Taiwanese politics, how the public opposes the cross-strait service trade
agreement and how Taiwanese resolutely oppose the free economic pilot zones,
which would greatly hurt Taiwan’s agriculture and job market.
Additional reporting by Lo Tien-pin, Chen Tzu-wen, and CNA