Cross-strait dialogue should be based on ‘people,’ reform: minister

Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh reacts during “The Chinese Communist Party's 19th National Congress - Prospects on Power Structure and Policies” seminar held on Nov. 15, 2017. Chang pointed to both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's proposed reforms and rhetoric about putting “people at the center” as common ground on which cross-strait relations can build. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) – Dialogue across the Taiwan Strait should be based on Taiwan and China’s desire to promote the interests of their people and reform as a starting point for development and exchange, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh (張小月) said on Wednesday.

Speaking at “The Chinese Communist Party’s 19th National Congress – Prospects on Power Structure and Policies” seminar, Chang pointed to both Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) proposed reforms and rhetoric about putting “people at the center” as common ground on which cross-strait relations can build.

The minister said she believes Taiwan can offer China advice on how to address increasing demands for democracy, rule of law and justice. As China enters a new age following the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Chang believes these shared values are a starting point for a new type of interaction between Taiwan and China.

She also hopes it will offer a framework for dialogue without political preconditions. Speaking with reporters after her speech, the MAC minister criticized a recent Chinese government rule that requires Taiwanese students who receive a scholarship to study in China to accept the one-China principle or risk losing their funding.

As nationals of a democracy, Taiwanese students are free thinking, Chang said, adding that such political preconditions and requirements are not what “we would like to see” from academic exchanges with China.

By Miao Zong-han and Kuan-lin Liu