Taiwan’s Parliament to Oversee Cross-Strait Negotiations

Wang Jin-pyng, speaker of Taiwan's parliament

The speaker of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan (parliament), Wang Jin-pyng, arrived in Washington, D.C. on July 24 for a week-long visit, marking the highest level visit by a ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party member to the United States since the transfer of power to the new administration (Singtao Daily, July 18). Speaking on July 29 at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank, the Heritage Foundation, Wang emphasized the enduring ties between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the United States. In a speech entitled “New Beginnings in a Strong Alliance,” Wang laid out the concerns of the new Taiwanese administration toward the requested arms package, but presented an optimistic outlook on the future of U.S.-Taiwan relations.

Wang announced that plans are underway in the parliament to create a committee that will conduct oversight over current cross-Strait negotiations. Wang assured that legislative oversight will play a complementary role to the executive and party-to-party track as already laid out by the flurry of cross-Strait dialogue spearheaded by Vice President Vincent Siew’s participation at the Boao Forum and Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of the revitalized Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF). Legislative oversight, according to Wang, is meant to safeguard the interests of the Taiwanese people, based on the following three principles: one, Taiwan’s sovereignty; two, Taiwan’s national security; three, the rights of 23 million citizens of Taiwan.

Wang’s remarks are considered significant by many analysts of cross-Strait relations and Taiwan’s domestic politics especially when weighed in terms of Taiwan’s current domestic political climate. In what appears to be an affront on President Ma Ying-jeou’s flagging satisfaction rating, Wang, when asked after his remarks during questions and answers, went at length to dispel the notion that there is bad blood between Wang and Ma, particularly following the heated race between the two for the KMT chairmanship. According to polls released by the non-partisan Global View Survey Research Center on July 28, Ma’s satisfaction rating has fallen from 58.3 percent in May to 27 percent in two months since assuming office. The same poll indicates that 60.4 percent are currently dissatisfied with Ma’s performance, which increased from 11.9 percent in May (Global Views Survey Research Center, July 28).