Taiwan government financial institutes withdraw from Xiamen forum


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Executives of several government financial institutions will not attend a cross-strait financial forum in the wake of Panama’s decision to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China, a local newspaper reported Thursday.

The Economic Daily News said that following Panama’s defection on Tuesday, the government has instructed the Taiwan Financial Services Roundtable (TFSR) not to attend the forum scheduled to be held in Xiamen on Sunday.

The TFSR, an organization set up in 2005 under the guidance of the Financial Supervisory Commission, is one of the four co-sponsors of the forum. The other three are Beijing-based Financial News, Xiamen City government and the economic bureau under the Taiwan Affairs Office.

Those that have withdrawn include Shih Jun-ji (施俊吉), TFSR board chairman and Taiwan Stock Exchange chairman; Wu Tang-chieh (吳當傑), TFSR secretary-general and Hua Nan Financial Holdings chairman; and Kuei Hsien-nung (桂先農), chairman of Taiwan Insurance Institute.

After the withdrawal of executives from government financial institutions, Taiwan’s delegation will mainly be made up of representatives from private financial institutions, the report said.

Panama’s decision to cut ties with Taiwan is widely seen as part of China’s escalating efforts to pressure Taiwan since the Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration, which has adopted a less conciliatory attitude toward China than its predecessor, took office on May 20, 2016.

Financial sectors on both sides had pinned their hopes on the Xiamen forum maintaining the momentum of cross-strait financial exchanges as relations cooled.

Xiamen financial officials have already visited Taiwan to coordinate matters related to the forum, with its focus on strengthening cross-strait exchanges and innovatively developing green finance.

The TFSR has also heeded the importance of the gathering.

Meanwhile, the Mainland Affairs Council, the body in charge of China policy, said that in order to protest China pressuring Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and its efforts to minimize Taiwan’s space in the international community, it plans to conduct a comprehensive review of the cross-strait situation and all related matters.

“We do not rule out anything and will adopt whatever contingency measures are necessary,” MAC Vice Chairman Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said.

Chiu said that for a year certain officials and scholars from Taiwan have been selectively prevented from visiting China, whereas Taiwan has welcomed Chinese officials and academics. He said this has resulted in an imbalance in cross-strait exchanges and will be reviewed.