Beijing yesterday insisted that future sea and air
routes across the Taiwan Straits should be regarded as
domestic transportation routes once the three direct links
are put in place.
This definition conforms to the
mainland's principle that the three cross-Straits links are
internal affairs within one country, said Li Weiyi,
spokesman with the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office.
The mainland has said that, provided that
cross-Straits trade, transportation and mail services are
viewed as domestic affairs, they can be implemented at an
early date through people-to-people, industry-to-industry
and company-to-company consultation.
Mainland Affairs Council, however, criticized Beijing for
setting preconditions by defining the three links as an
But Li reiterated that the
definition stems from the indisputable fact that there is
only one China in the world and that both Taiwan and the
mainland are part of China.
"For a very
long time, both sides of the Taiwan Straits had no dispute
on the issue," he told a regular press conference in
The official indicated that
it is the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party
(DPP) administration headed by Chen Shui-bian that has
refused to accept this with the aim of creating "two
Chinas" or "one China and one Taiwan."
Li went on to say that regarding cross-Straits
transportation routes as domestic ones will also help better
safeguard the rights and interests of individuals,
businesses in general and transport companies in particular
on both sides.
"Foreign capital will be
excluded from the cross-Straits transport market if these
links are regarded as domestic routes," Li said.
In line with the United Nations Convention on
the Law of the Sea of 1982, any coastal state can reserve
for domestic firms the exclusive right to operate its
coastal transportation, trade and fishing industries.
Li also said Taiwan's DPP is welcome to send a
delegation to visit the Chinese mainland as soon as it
abandons its "Taiwan Independence" program.
Li said that except for a tiny minority of
die-hard DPP proponents of "Taiwan Independence,"
the mainland welcomes the vast majority of DPP members to
come for a visit in an "appropriate capacity" so
as to boost mutual understanding.
stressed that unless the DPP completely abandons its
"Taiwan Independence" program, the mainland would
not engage in any contact with any DPP departments or
Li also said Beijing resolutely
opposes Taiwan's proposal to set up a free-trade zone with
the United States.
Government does not object to Taiwan maintaining
non-governmental economic and cultural exchanges with
foreign countries," he said.
do oppose the establishment of any official relations and
official contacts between Taiwan and countries that have
established diplomatic ties with China."
Taipei has reportedly proposed the free-trade
zone to counter Beijing's plan to establish such a zone
between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
within 10 years.
The island reportedly fears
that it may be isolated or marginalized in the Asia-Pacific
region, given the Chinese mainland's fast economic
development and growing influence.