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Taiwan-China hotline not in use: MAC chief

ROC Central News Agency

2016/06/30 17:28:48

Taipei, June 30 (CNA) The hotline set up between Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) is currently not in use, but communication between the two sides on a joint crime-fighting agreement remains uninterrupted, officials said Thursday.

"At the present time, the hotline is nonexistent," said MAC Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh (張小月) during a session of the Legislature's Internal Administration Committee on the deportation of Taiwanese nationals by foreign governments to China.

Chang also said there is no other suitable channel to contact China over such matters, when Legislator Wu Chi-ming (吳琪銘) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party further pushed her on the issue.

The MAC also has not heard from China after it asked for visitation by family members to some of the 25 fraud suspects sent from Cambodia to the Chinese city of Wenzhou June 24, Chang said in response to questioning by People First Party Legislator Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔).

The hotline was set up in December 2015 under the previous administration of former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and was used in mid-April after Kenya sent Taiwanese nationals to China.

Meanwhile, during the legislative committee session, Deputy Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said his ministry's lines of communication with China's Ministry of Public Security are still in place, as the Chinese side sent notification after Taiwanese suspects were sent to China June 24.

The deputy justice minister said his ministry has continued negotiations with China for the return of Taiwanese nationals arrested in Cambodia.

He also pointed out that while China and Taiwan have cooperated on cracking down on fraud rings involving nationals of the two sides operating in a third country, Chinese authorities have become more proactive and begun taking the initiative on their own recently.

The recent arrests in Cambodia were an example of China directly working with the Southeast Asian country without the help of Taiwan, he said.

In addition, visits of Taiwanese suspects sent to China have been suspended since May, he noted.

Since April, both sides of the Taiwan Strait have been engaged in talks after a series of deportations of Taiwanese nationals to China by countries including Kenya and Malaysia.

Taiwan sent two delegations to visit the Taiwanese detained in China over alleged fraud schemes targeting mainly Chinese nationals and seek the return of these suspects to Taiwan.

On Wednesday, TAO spokesman An Fengshan (安峰山) said in Beijing that regular communication between the MAC and TAO has been suspended, blaming the new government under President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is said to have refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus since taking office May 20.

(By Liu Kuan-ting, Chen Chun-hua and Kay Liu)

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