ET Today, April 29, 2005
Chen: Taiwan and China should sign FTA, not CEPA
Meetings for the first time in 56 years between leaders of the KMT and Chinese Communist Party, were staged on Friday. President Chen Shui-bian closely monitored the proceeding of such a meeting, worried that the KMT will ignore the government’s opposition against signing a Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement with China. Chen said that the establishment of a CEPA would belittle Taiwan, turning Taiwan into another Hong Kong subordinate to China.
KMT Chairman Lien Chan and Chinese President Hu Jintao met in Beijing, and both agreed to the “1992 Consensus” - that is “one China, each side with its own interpretation”. In the meantime, President Chen Shui-bian in Taiwan was scheduled to receive foreign guests at the Presidential Office. But the serious expression on his face showed his great concern over the Lien-Hu meeting.
Chen has forgotten the name of the foreign guest, because he was worried that Lien and Hu will conclude a “Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement” (CEPA).
Chen said, “China has signed CEPA with Hong Kong and Macau. If the KMT signs a CEPA with China, it will belittle Taiwan and turn Taiwan into a ‘Special Administration Zone’ of China. Taiwan will become another Hong Kong or Macau. We can not accept that.”
Instead of CEPA, President Chen said, Taiwan is willing to sign a Free Trade Agreement with China.
“Under the framework of the World Trade Organization, if there’s anything that China can conclude with Taiwan, it should be a free trade agreement, rather than CEPA. It’s impossible for China to sign a FTA with Taiwan. But at least it shouldn’t block Taiwan from signing FTA with other countries, like the U.S. and Japan. Taiwan will thank God for this.”
Signing a CEPA with China means that Taiwan accepts China’s “One China Principle” and that Taiwan becomes a subordinate of China. An FTA is only concluded between two independent nations. No wonder Chen is opposed to the signing of a CEPA. Throughout the meeting between Lien and Hu, President Chen closely monitored the proceedings by staring at the TV without blinking. Chen said that the Mainland Affairs Council will make an official statement later.