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China will not make direct contact with DPP: Beijing negotiator

China will not make direct contact with Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) unless the party changes the Taiwan independence clause in its party platform, the top Chinese negotiator with Taiwan said Sunday.

Chen Deming, president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), made clear Beijing's stance toward Taiwan's ruling party-to-be when answering media questions before joining the second-day session of the National People's Congress.

Asked whether there are other communication channels between China and the DPP, which had a landslide victory in both the presidential and legislative elections in January, Chen said that the mainland's attitude toward the DPP is "clear and consistent."

The mainland "will not contact (the DPP) directly" until such time that the latter changes the Taiwan independence clause in its party platform, Chen said.

Asked if he will visit Taiwan before May 20 -- when President-elect Tsai Ing-wen, who doubles as the DPP's chairwoman, will assume office as president of Taiwan -- Chen replied that for the time being, he has not thought about the issue.

"I will wait and see how things progress," he said.

ARATS is the intermediary body founded by Beijing to handle cross-strait affairs in the absence of formal bilateral ties.

Speaking of the controversial issue of trade in goods between the two sides of the strait, the negotiator said that talks on the planned cross-strait trade-in-goods agreement have been completed.

The reason the agreement has not been signed so far is that Taiwan's legislature has not passed a draft cross-strait agreement supervisory act, Chen said.

On a proposal brought up in the session of the National People's Congress to build a cross-Taiwan Strait high-speed rail line, Chen said more time will be needed before the two sides of the strait can begin to discuss it.

"There is a problem regarding the political willingness between us," said Chen.

In terms of engineering technology, China has the ability to construct a large-span bridge for a high-speed rail, as well as the funds required for such a project, he said.

Taiwan for its part has the advantage of possessing related techniques, he went on, noting that if the two sides can cooperate with each other, they can easily resolve the challenges of such a project, such as ensuring supplies of water, electricity and natural gas.

But there is a problem of willingness between Taiwan and China, therefore "we have to patiently wait and see until the time is ripe for discussion," Chen said.


Updated : 2021-08-02 15:33 GMT+08:00