NO PEACE TREATY, NO FLY-OVER RIGHT FOR CHINESE PLANES: PREMIER HSIEH
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Aug. 4 (CNA) Taiwan will not allow Chinese commercial aircraft to fly over its airspace until a peace treaty has been signed by the two sides, Premier Frank Hsieh said Thursday.
China has repeatedly threatened to attack Taiwan militarily and it is targeting missiles at Taiwan, the premier said, adding that "if Chinese airplanes can fly over us, would they need the missiles?"
Hsieh made the remarks in an exclusive interview with CNA.
His decision Wednesday to allow Taiwan's commercial aircraft to fly over Chinese airspace spurred Taiwan's stock market, but some people were concerned that China may ask for a reciprocal measure from Taiwan.
In response to these concerns, Hsieh said his answer was a clear no, because Taiwan is not preparing to "recover the mainland" with military force whereas China has claimed it is ready to invade Taiwan and is backing this up with hundreds of missiles targeting Taiwan.
The premier said Taiwan will not become an obstacle to China's plan for what Beijing calls its "peaceful rise" only on one condition -- China must renounce its military threats against Taiwan.
That's why it is important for China and Taiwan to sign a peace treaty, he said. He noted that only when such a treaty has been signed -- when China has given up its threats against Taiwan -- will the government consider allowing Chinese aircraft to fly over Taiwan. "Right now we are not even considering it," he said.
He said the government decided to let Taiwan's aircraft use Chinese airspace mainly for economic reasons -- to save flight times and fuel, thereby alleviating the pressure on Taiwan air carriers to raise ticket prices for their international services.
In dealing with cross-strait exchanges, "we have to take into account our needs and our interests, " he said. Sometimes, such exchanges may not go smoothly because "we also have to consider the other side's needs and interests," he added.
He attributed the surge in air carriers' stock prices to an "atmosphere" in which investors think that the government's policy will not change abruptly and that the government has actually been doing things to make them feel reassured. "I believe China also needs stability, particularly when its economy is increasingly internationalized, " Hsieh said. The two sides of the Strait "have a common interest" in making it easy for people to forecast future development instead of worrying about political risks, he said.
As to the knotty issues between the two sides and how things will evolve around them, Hsieh said that "time will offer its solutions." What needs to be done by both governments for now is "to work for the wellbeing of the people on both sides of the Strait."
(By S.C. Chang)
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