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KMT: Foreign ties will backpedal if cross-strait ties regress

KMT: Foreign ties will backpedal if cross-strait ties regress

Taipei, Dec. 29 (CNA) Taiwan's foreign relations will suffer a setback if relations with China take a step backward, senior Kuomintang (KMT) legislators warned Thursday. Trying not to echo Beijing's veiled threats to Taiwan if it chooses a pro-independence party to lead it for the next four years, Lin Yu-fang and John Chiang of the KMT legislative caucus, both of whom are foreign affairs veterans, argued that a stable cross-strait relationship is actually instrumental to Taiwan's efforts to improve its ties with other countries and institutions around the world. Chiang said Taiwan's foreign relations have been greatly expanded over the past four years because President Ma Ying-jeou's policies have improved cross-strait relations. Yang Yi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office under China's State Council, issued a warning a day earlier that the DPP's denial of the "1992 consensus" between Taiwan and China could derail a hard-won state of peaceful co-existence across the strait. Yang also made a veiled threat to Taiwanese voters who will go to the polls Jan. 14, saying that upholding the Taiwan independence platform (of the DPP) will be a step backward into the era of former President Chen Shui-bian. Such a development would "inevitably threaten the peaceful development of cross- strait relations," Yang added. In contrast to Chen's conflict-oriented foreign policy, Chiang, a former foreign minister, said improved cross-strait relations have resulted in Taiwan becoming a candidate country on the list for the United States' visa-waiver program. "This shows that when cross-strait relations are stable, Taiwan-U.S. ties are also on a solid foundation marked by mutual trust," Chiang said. Lin for his part named the KMT administration's achievements over the past four years, which he said the DPP was unable to achieve in its eight years in power, including visa waver treatment from the European Union, Japan and Canada. "Taiwan has also been able to participate in the World Health Assembly as an observer," Lin said, adding that it is "all too evident" which party is more competent in promoting Taiwan's foreign relations. On the other hand, according to Chiang, if cross-strait relations suffer a setback, Taiwan's foreign relations will also suffer. These setbacks, he predicted, will include the country's efforts to win the hosting rights for the 2019 Asian Games and the 2024 Olympic Games. Taiwan has earned the right to host the 2017 University Games, a privilege that would not have been obtained without a stable cross- strait situation, Chiang said. (By Lu Hsin-hui and S.C. Chang)