Taoyuan mayor calls for China to stop threatening Taiwan

2018/03/07 22:49:09 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦, right) and Yu Pun-hoi (于品海)

Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦, right) and Yu Pun-hoi (于品海)

Taipei, March 7 (CNA) Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) on Wednesday urged China to make friends with the people of Taiwan and stop threatening the use of force to solve disputes between the two sides.

Cheng, a former Cabinet member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government from 2006 to 2007, said Taoyuan enjoys "rather smooth" exchanges with Chinese cities in general and it was not clear why China was putting up barriers to civilian exchanges with other DPP-led municipalities.

In the eight Taiwan cities and counties led by the Kuomintang (KMT), there are residents who voted for the DPP, Cheng said, referring to China's preference for the KMT-led municipalities as tourist destinations in Taiwan.

If China really wants more people-to-people exchanges with Taiwan, the Chinese government should refrain from "speaking ill" of Taiwan and instead try to be more friendly, Cheng said in an interview with Yu Pun-hoi (于品海), a senior executive of Duowei TW monthly, during a seminar on "new cross-Taiwan Strait relations."

"If you want to be someone's friend, you don't just look at his shortcomings, you also try to appreciate his strengths," Cheng said.

In response to Yu's question about whether Taiwan and China are in fact close family rather than just friends, Cheng said Beijing often threatens to use force to bring Taiwan back into the Chinese family.

"If they say we're close family, they won't repeatedly threaten to use force to settle disputes," Cheng said.

Commenting on China's recent announcement of incentives to lure Taiwanese to live and work there, Cheng said the new policy initiative means Beijing has given up its strategy of using its agents, including the KMT, to execute its united front tactics.

This new strategy by the government of Chinese President Xi Jinping indicates growing self-confidence, but it remains to seen whether it will be effective, Cheng said.

On the question of how he views China's rise, Cheng said it is a complicated issue.

"China's politics and economy are currently in a state of disequilibrium," Cheng said. "No one knows whether that development model will work."

Taiwanese, however, should neither overestimate nor underestimate China since it is rife with risks and well as opportunities, he said.

Duowei TW is a monthly magazine dedicated to increasing its readers' understanding of China.

(By Lin Ko-lun and S.C. Chang)
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