Policy toward Taiwan ‘unchanged,’ say the mainland authorities

By Yuan-Ming Chiao, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan–Mainland China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO, 國台辦) stated Tuesday that policy toward the island would remain “unchanged” following national elections leading to a resounding Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) victory on Jan. 16. The statement came from Long Mingpu (龍明彪), deputy director of the TAO, and was quoted in Chinese state media. Long also mentioned stable and “proactively improving” cross-strait relations in 2015, including the historic meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou and mainland China leader Xi Jinping in Singapore on Nov. 7. ”Following elections for leader of the ‘Taiwan Region,’ which brought dramatic changes to island politics, cross-strait relations will become more complicated. But despite the change in circumstances, our larger Taiwan policy will remain unchanged,” Long said. He emphasized mainland China’s insistence on maintaining the “1992 Consensus” and opposition to “Taiwanese independence.” The “1992 Consensus” refers to a tacit arrangement between both governments across the Taiwan Strait that recognizes the existence of “one China,” but agrees that different interpretations of its definition exist.

The statement is likely to be studied closely by the incoming Tsai administration. President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has not openly used support of the “1992 Consensus” as a foundation for her cross-strait policy. She has, however, acceded to “maintaining the status quo” in accordance with the R.O.C. Constitution. ‘Three Nos’ on Transit Passengers Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF, 海基會) Vice Chairman Chou Jih-shine (周繼祥) indicated that Taiwan and China had reached a consensus on mainland travelers transiting to third destinations through the island.

According the Chou, SEF negotiations with its mainland counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS, 海協會) produced three agreements: Transiting mainland Chinese passengers will not pass immigration, they will not be required to hold a Taiwan-issued visa and their passports will not be stamped. He said that more recent developments on the matter concerned delays for unforeseen circumstances during transit. The SEF has proposed that Chinese passengers requiring an overnight stay due to delays undergo approval by the Immigration Bureau. They would then be directed by airport personnel to designated rest areas located in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport’s Terminal 2. Rest areas will be equipped with facilities for showering, televisions and other amenities. ARATS has not yet responded to the proposal. China first agreed to allow its travelers to transit in Taiwan earlier this month following numerous rounds of negotiations. The new policy will first be implemented from three locations (Nanchang, Kunming and Chongqing). Passengers from there will only require their airline ticket confirming travel to a third destination and their “national identity card” to transit from Taiwan.