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KMT tries to take credit from DPP for launching mini-three links

KMT tries to take credit from DPP for launching mini-three links

Taipei, Dec. 29 (CNA) Ruling Kuomintang (KMT) politicians tried to poke holes Thursday in Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen's statement that it was she who initiated a breakthrough in cross-Taiwan Strait relations when she was the highest-ranking official in charge of mainland China affairs. During a visit the previous day to the Taiwan-controlled island of Kinmen, just opposite China's southeastern coast, Tsai said that when she was minister of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) under the DPP administration of former President Chen Shui-bian, she launched the "three- mini links" with China, enabling direct trade, postal and transport exchanges between Taiwan and China via the outlying island. She also assured voters that if she is elected president next month, relations between Taiwan and China will "continue to progress" and "will not stagnate or regress," rebutting warnings by KMT legislators. KMT Legislator John Chiang, a former foreign minister, said Tsai actually used the mini-links as a sop to the public, while quashing similar links between China and Taiwan proper that would have further expanded cross-strait trade, postal and transport links. Chiang pointed out that Tsai even opposed chartered flights across the strait during Lunar New Year holidays. "If she continues to take the credit for facilitating cross-strait exchanges, she will be exposing her true nature," Chiang said. He claimed that it was the KMT which, starting from 2002, worked hard to amend the law governing cross-strait civilian relations to allow the introduction of charter flights, first for the Lunar New Year holiday and then for other national holidays. "The direct links of today are not an expansion of the 'mini-three links' as claimed by the DPP. Rather, what we have today is the result of the efforts of the KMT caucus," which later won the support of President Ma Ying-jeou, Chiang said. Premier Wu Den-yih, campaigning in Changhua County, central Taiwan, said that even the "mini-three links" were the work of the KMT's legislative caucus and that it was Chiang who played a major role in making charter flight services across the strait possible. Wu said that while Tsai was MAC minister, she went nowhere with the government's policy of attracting tourists from China. "On that account, she did not work hard enough and did not pay enough attention to the issue," Wu said. Lai Shin-yuan, the incumbent MAC minister, also accused Tsai of "wrestling away the credit" for launching the "mini-three links," saying that the DPP government was half-hearted in implementing the policy, which was forced upon it by the KMT, which was a majority party in the legislature at the time. In response to the accusations, Tsai said that if the KMT government cares so much about who launched the "mini-three links" policy, it signifies that that was a great achievement. When the policy was implemented in January 2001, it became a big story among major international media, Tsai said, because it showed that the DPP had broken through the KMT's "three-nos" ideology. When the KMT was in power in the 1980s and 1990s, it upheld a policy of "no contact, no negotiation and no compromise" with China, she said. "It was the DPP government that launched the 'mini-three links' policy, indicating its goodwill toward friendly exchanges with China," said Tsai. The DPP is open-minded toward cross-strait exchanges as long as national security can be ensured, she said, adding that normal exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are "bound to happen." (By Angela Tsai, Sophia Yeh, Wu Che-hao, Lu Hsin-hui and S.C. Chang)


Updated : 2021-06-25 06:04 GMT+08:00