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September 20, 2017

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Taiwan, China should set up cross-strait branch offices: Su

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Owing to the intimate yet somewhat tense relationship between Taiwan and China, both sides should establish branch offices on the other side of the strait to promote further diplomatic development, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang said yesterday.

Both the people and the economy of each side interact at a personal level, said Su. The DPP yesterday invited Cross-Strait Agreement Watch Convener Lai Chung-chiang and think tank researchers to discuss issues related to the proposed Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement.

The head of the DPP's China Affairs Department, Hong Tsai-lung, relayed Su's stance, saying that "Establishing cross-strait branch offices does not simply involve the political positions of both countries and Taiwan's security; it will also promote Taiwan's political and social development in the future."

Should Taiwan and China decide to set up branch offices, the regulations governing them should be clear and concise, and not damage Taiwan's sovereignty or dignity, Hong said. Both countries should hold equal status, with the offices' functions fitting the actual needs of Taiwanese merchants in China and similar groups.

Su also called for permission for Taiwanese officials and attorneys to visit and aid Taiwanese citizens held in Chinese custody.

"The chairman gives weight to the safety of Taiwanese citizens in China, and has asked DPP legislators not to back down on any Legislative Yuan discussion about the issue," said Hong.

Any compromise made with China should follow three principles: Do not downgrade Taiwan's status to accommodate China; do not sign an agreement just for the sake of signing it; and do not set any time limits for the agreement, as the rights and interests of the Taiwanese people should be given the topmost priority, said Su.

The ruling party should communicate deeply with opposition parties, said Hong, and Su pointedly asked President Ma Ying-jeou to make correct and complete evaluations of Taiwan's national security and the influence it has on the country's politics, society and economy.

The government should accept supervision of cross-strait interaction from the Legislature and the public, Hong added. Information offered by the government related to the Cross-strait Service Trade Agreement is not transparent enough for the public to grasp the negotiations between Taiwan and China, and the ruling party should prioritize the release of more relevant details, said Su.

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