Taiwan, China cannot afford conflict: Soong
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Dec. 23 (CNA) Taiwan should push for participation in the regional economic integration in a pragmatic manner, using cross-strait detente as leverage, as neither Taiwan nor China can afford a conflict, People First Party presidential candidate James Soong (宋楚瑜) said Wednesday.
The cross-Taiwan Strait situation is the main obstacle to Taiwan's participation in regional economic blocs and international organizations, Soong said at an economic forum held by seven major trade and industry groups in Taiwan.
'The two sides cannot afford a conflict,' he said. Since China has changed the way it handles cross-strait affairs, Taiwan should use the existing political rapprochement between the two sides in its bid to join the regional economic integration, Soong said.
Taiwan should hold firmly to its freedom and democracy and its existence as the Republic of China, he said, when asked about his cross-strait policy.
As for its other problems, Taiwan should not 'go into blind alleys,' he said.
For example, in Taiwan's bid to join the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), exhaustive discussions are needed on the issue of Taiwan's designation in the regional organization, Soong said.
On the issue of cross-strait agreements, he said that as president he would adopt three measures -- cross-party participation, transparency and monitoring - as the basis for such pacts.
Asked about his energy policy, Soong said that while he does not support a closure of the country's three existing nuclear power plants until replacement energy sources could be found, he is strongly opposed to putting the fourth nuclear power plant into operation.
Soong also said that legislative reform is needed to address the problem of the Legislature's inefficiency and its effect on the country's economic development.
If elected, Soong said, he would push for such reform and the Legislature's review of major bills. 'I'm one of the few people who can communicate with both the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP),' he said.
Soong was the second presidential candidate invited to attend the forum, at which local trade and business representatives have been discussing issues of concern with the three presidential candidates.
Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the DPP attended the forum on Tuesday and the KMT's Eric Chu (朱立倫) has been invited to give his views on Dec. 29.
(By Tsai Yi-shu, Yang Shu-min and Elizabeth Hsu)
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