A group of Taiwan academics urged the ROC government to establish a Presidential Office committee responsible for overseeing the peaceful development of cross-strait ties and communicating results to local opposition leaders and social elites.
Yang Kai-huang, professor at Ming Chuan University Department and Graduate School of Public Affairs, said March 20 that the mechanism would facilitate cross-strait dialogue to the benefit of long-term development and stability.
Yang made the remarks at a news conference held by the nongovernmental Taipei Forum Foundation, which invited local academics to critique key government policies.
Overseen by Su Chi, TFF chairman and former National Security Council secretary-general, and Hung Chi-chang, TFF board member and former chairman of Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation, the event is seen as a valuable tool in aiding government policymaking.
Echoing Yang’s remarks, Tung Chen-yuan, professor at National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Development Studies, said such a committee could help forge political solidarity and domestic consensus on the government’s mainland China policy.
“With no elections scheduled for the next two years, now is a good time for the government to start building domestic consensus on cross-strait affairs,” Tung said. “The mechanism will play a leading role in reaching this goal and should be workable even if the opposition Democratic Progressive Party returns to power.”
Bau Tzong-ho, vice president of National Taiwan University, said the proposed committee dovetails with the government’s viable diplomacy approach to foreign relations—a pragmatic policy replacing cross-strait confrontation with cooperation while expanding ROC exchanges with diplomatic allies and partners around the world.
Joanne J.L. Chang, research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of European and American Studies, said that while developing relations with mainland China, Japan and the U.S., the government must strengthen exchanges with the EU, Association of Southeast Asian Nations and ROC diplomatic allies.
Chang suggests the government also increase efforts to secure expanded participation in World Health Organization-affiliated global mechanisms, such as the International Food Safety Authorities Network and Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. Taiwan has been part of the WHO’s International Health Regulations and an observer in its World Health Assembly since May 2009.
The TFF will present a policy paper comprising the scholars’ opinions and suggestions to the government after a seminar March 24 and 25 in Taipei City. (JSM)