TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s new government has no schedule for re-starting trade talks with China, Economics Minister Lee Chih-kung said on Wednesday, adding that the pro-independence ruling party first wanted to pass a law governing oversight of negotiations with Beijing.
Beijing has already condemned the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) proposed “supervisory law”, and critics in Taiwan say it could paralyze relations with China.
The bill requires government officials to get legislative consent before, during and after any talks with Beijing. They cannot sign any agreements with China before all three stages of legislative approval are completed.
“The cross-Strait supervisory bill is still in parliament. Trade talks need the oversight, so to hold trade talks would be of no use,” Lee said in his first news conference since Friday’s inauguration of President Tsai Ing-wen.
The DPP’s Tsai has said democratic principles will rule Taiwan’s ties with Beijing while reiterating her government will keep the peace and forge a consistent, predictable and sustainable relationship.
She urged China in her inaugural speech Friday to “set aside the baggage of history and engage in positive dialogue”.
China has regarded Taiwan as a wayward province to be taken by force if necessary ever since defeated Nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949 after a civil war with China’s Communists.
The DPP, which distrusts Beijing and traditionally supports independence for Taiwan, took over the reins of government from the more China-friendly Nationalist Party, which had held power for eight years.
China on Wednesday reiterated its opposition to the DPP’s pro-independence stance, warning of negative consequences if the party fails to recognize Taiwan is a part of China, under a “One China” principle.
“If the ‘One China’ principle cannot be upheld, political mutual trust will no longer exist and is bound to have adverse effects,” said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, at a regular news conference.
“Everyone is very clear about the DPP’s history. This party adheres to the ‘Taiwan independence’ stance...Obviously, it is precisely the DPP which needs to drop the baggage of history,” he said.
Wang Weixing, a member of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, published a commentary on Tuesday saying Tsai’s leadership style was “emotional” and “extreme” because she was single.
The commentary, which was first published in the International Herald Leader and re-posted on many Chinese websites including that of the official Xinhua news agency, was later deleted from Chinese news sites, after facing ridicule from Chinese social media users who called the piece sexist.
Reporting by Jeanny Kao; Additional reporting by Michael Martina and Megha Rajagopalan in BEIJING; Writing by Faith Hung and J.R. Wu; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Nick Macfie