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No major changes to policy despite defeat, says MAC

Official says government will be consistent on cross-strait stance, continue negotiations

No major changes to policy despite defeat, says MAC

The government will not overhaul its China policy following the ruling Democratic Progressive Party\'s defeat in Saturday\'s \"three-in-one\" local elections, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said yesterday.

Speaking at a seminar on the impact of the elections on cross-Taiwan Strait relations, You said that Saturday\'s polls should not be viewed as a public referendum on the government\'s China policy, asserting that the government will not make any major changes to its current China policy despite the ruling DPP\'s poor showing in the elections.

The government must be coherent and consistent in drawing up stable policies, You said, adding that the MAC will continue promoting cross-strait charter flight services, as well as the opening of Taiwan to Chinese tourists, and a resumption of cross-strait negotiations.

You also played down the remarks made by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) while campaigning for a DPP candidate in Ilan County last week that the government would tighten its China policy to protect the interests of the Taiwan people should the opposition \"pan blue alliance\" win Saturday\'s elections. The president was just reminding the public that a \"pan blue\" victory would not necessarily mean an easing in cross-strait policy, he explained.

Asked whether Beijing would do anything against Taiwan after the elections, You argued that cross-strait relations have turned sour due to China\'s hard-line position toward Taiwan, rather than due to the DPP\'s strategy.

Expressing the hope for cross-strait peace and stability, he said that the MAC does not expect to see anything similar to the Anti-Secession Law produced by Beijing again.

However, a researcher at the Heritage Foundation said Saturday in Washington that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party\'s (DPP\'s) failure in Saturday\'s local elections will harden Beijing\'s resolve not to deal with it, although the DPP\'s China policy was not a factor contributing to its setback in the polls.

In a response to questions from a CNA reporter, John Tkacik, an American Chinese affairs expert at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, said the elections represented a referendum on the DPP administration\'s performance, not a referendum on Taiwan\'s future with China.

Virtually every race was decided on local and domestic issues, and in every district, even in the constituencies where the DPP actually did manage to hold on to power, voters have been very disappointed with the DPP administration across-the-board, Tkacik said.

Nonetheless, he said, the KMT continually touted its ability to improve relations with China as its central theme in the campaign, and the DPP began to fall into the trap by warning that a loss for it in the elections would undermine the Executive Yuan\'s flexibility in dealing with China.

Tkacik said the bitter battle between the KMT and the DPP over China policy in the context of domestic elections led foreign media to view the results as an expression of support for the KMT\'s new vision for Taiwan\'s future with China.

With this incorrect view, Tkacik said, Beijing will be even more resolute about not engaging in any dialogue with the DPP and will wait until 2008 in the expectation that a KMT candidate will win and follow former KMT Chairman Lien Chan\'s (連戰) policies of reaching out to it.

The KMT won a landslide in Saturday\'s elections for city mayors and county magistrates, city and county councilors, and village and townships heads, dealing a heavy blow to the ruling DPP after President Chen Shui-bian won re-election in 2004 by a razor-thin margin.

The KMT won 14 of the 23 city mayor and county magistrate posts being contested, well ahead of the DPP\'s six, as well as a large majority of the councilor and township chief races.

Updated : 2021-10-22 11:48 GMT+08:00