Taipei, Aug. 28 (CNA) Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia (夏立言) said his recently concluded 17-day trip to China is aimed at meeting the needs of Taiwanese based in the country, after returning to China. Taiwan on Saturday.

Hsia’s trip, made as Beijing launched a high-pressure military and economic campaign in retaliation for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, had sparked controversy over its timing.

However, during a virtual press briefing held shortly after returning to Taipei, Hsia said he used his meetings with Chinese officials to raise the concerns of the country’s Taiwanese community over the recent drills. Beijing’s military in areas surrounding Taiwan.

When asked how he expressed his position, Hsia said he told his hosts that military exercises were of no use for peaceful development and that the vast majority of people in Taiwan were unwell. comfortable, worried and unhappy with the exercises.

Hsia left for China with a KMT delegation on August 10 and met with the chairman of the Chinese Association for Cross-Taiwan Strait Relations Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) and the deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office Chen Yuanfeng (陳元豐), as well as a number of business groups. representing Taiwanese in China, on a multi-city tour that included stops in Guangdong and Fujian provinces.

According to Hsia, during his meetings with Zhang and Chen, he exchanged with them on a wide range of concerns of many Taiwanese businessmen.

These included Chinese military exercises, employment scams and telecommunications fraud in Cambodia, cross-strait flights and the restoration of the “mini three links” – direct exchanges between the groups of islands. devices from Taiwan and China which were suspended in February 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in China.

They also addressed rumors of the end of the “early harvest” list which lists products with early tariff cuts under the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), Hsia said.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan’s top government agency overseeing cross-strait policies, criticized Hsia’s trip in a statement on Saturday.

MAC said individuals from the ruling and opposition parties should be aware that any government-level cross-strait exchanges should be handled by the government to ensure the welfare of the people and Taiwan’s national interests. .

The MAC had dissuaded Hsia from making the trip, saying it was not the right time for members of political parties to visit China given Beijing’s nearly week-long intensive military drills targeting Taiwan that have begun. on August 4, which were attended by frequent Chinese military personnel. activities involving the dispatch of warships and military aircraft near Taiwan.

After her return, the MAC accused Hsia of dancing to the tune of Beijing and doing the work of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, as well as doing politics ahead of November’s local elections.

However, Hsia dismissed claims that he was pro-Beijing, saying the motivation for his trip was “very simple” and that it was “manipulated and complicated by people with nefarious intentions”.

Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Sunday called Hsia’s visit to China “correct” when addressing reporters, saying the tense situation in the Taiwan Strait made communication more necessary than never.

Ma also took aim at the ruling Democratic Progressive Party government for not engaging with Beijing and relying on the KMT to look after the interests of the Taiwanese people in China.

KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), meanwhile, said the concerns of Taiwanese in China have been overlooked over the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the only way to resolve these problems was communication and cross-strait exchanges. .

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