China's new incentives aimed at annexing Taiwan: premier

2018/03/06 15:51:01 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Premier Lai Ching-te

Premier Lai Ching-te

Taipei, March 6 (CNA) A set of incentive measures targeted at Taiwanese citizens that were recently unveiled by Beijing are aimed at eventually annexing Taiwan, Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said Tuesday.

"The essence of the incentive measures or the 1992 consensus is to benefit China, which wants to annex Taiwan eventually," Lai said at a Legislative Yuan hearing in response to a question from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉).

China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) announced 31 measures last week that it said will benefit Taiwanese enterprises, associations and artists interested in developing in China.

The 31 measures, devised to improve the rights of Taiwanese people to study, work, live or start a business in China, were drawn up by 29 Chinese central government agencies and represent the vision of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) regarding Taiwan.

They were perceived by many as Beijing's latest strategy to directly woo Taiwan's people and attract Taiwanese professionals at a time when official contacts with Taiwan's government are at a standstill.

Relations have deteriorated since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016, with Beijing cutting off official contacts with Taipei because of Tsai's refusal to accept the "1992 consensus," which implies that Taiwan is a part of China.

In response to Beijing's new initiative, Lai said he has instructed Premier Shih Jun-ji (施俊吉) to study the measures and come up with a pragmatic response by working with Cabinet agencies.

Asked to comment, meanwhile, on China's growing military budget, Lai said Taiwan faces a rising military threat from China and its massive defense spending and will work with the international community to enhance regional stability amid the imbalance.

On Monday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) said at the opening of the country's annual meeting of the National People's Congress that China's military budget will rise 8.1 percent this year to 1.11 trillion Chinese yuan (US$175 billion).

In contrast, Taiwan's Ministry of Defense has a 2018 budget of NT$327.8 billion (US$11.19 billion), up about 2 percent from a year earlier.

Lai said Taiwan is determined to increase its military budget every year and will also write additional special budgets to meet defense needs.

(By Su Lung-chi and Frances Huang)

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