logo logo

Taiwan’s dignity should be maintained in FTA signings: academic

Focus Taiwan News Channel

Taiwan’s dignity should be maintained in FTA signings: academic

30 August 2012

By Chen Hung-chin, Hsu Hui and C.J. Lin

Taipei, Aug. 30 (CNA) Taiwan should maintain its dignity when it signs Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with other countries, a National Taiwan University professor said Wednesday.

"Taiwan is not Hong Kong, and other countries are not likely to intend to belittle us" in FTA talks, said Bao Tzong-ho, a professor of the university’s Department of Political Science.

The professor was responding to remarks made by Zheng Lizhong, deputy president of the Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State Council, during a recent interview with Taipei-based magazine Global View that if Taiwan wants to sign FTAs with other countries, it should do so under the one-China principle.

As Taiwan is a democratic country, it will require support from local society before it signs agreements with other countries and they should be signed on the basis of equality and the benefit of both sides, said Bao.

"Maintaining Taiwan’s dignity is very important," Bao added.

China should understand that Taiwan’s establishment of economic relations with other countries is non-political in nature, said Bao.

If Taiwan wants to develop its international trade, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait must develop "a certain degree of communication," for instance through Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits.

According to former SEF Chairman Hong Chi-chang, Beijing’s one-China principle is the main reason why, despite being a World Trade Organization member, Taiwan has been unable to kick off negotiations and bilateral FTA talks with other member countries.