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Existing cross-strait accords part of 'peace pact': President

2012/02/08 22:28:14

Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) All 16 agreements signed between Taiwan and China since 2008 can be seen as part of a broadly defined cross-strait peace agreement, President Ma Ying-jeou said Wednesday.

Ma made the remark after hearing a report at a meeting of the ruling Kuomintang Central Standing Committee by Professor Lin Tzu-chia of National Chengchi University on "the golden decade and the prospects of Taiwan's economic development."

Lin said a cross-strait peace agreement, an idea floated by the president during the election campaign that ended on Jan. 14 with his re-election, would be neither an agreement of "peaceful unification" nor of "peaceful independence" involving the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, said the government hopes to institutionalize the peaceful status quo in the Taiwan Strait. However, more discussion is required to decide how best to do so, he added.

He reiterated his "three conditions" for signing a peace pact with mainland China -- national needs, public support and parliamentary supervision, with public support to be expressed through a referendum.

"It means a national consensus will be forged through such a referendum," he said.

But even without a peace accord, Ma said, "we have other means to achieve its purpose that will institutionalize the cross-strait status quo of peaceful development."

He said each of the 16 agreements signed between Taipei and Beijing since he took office in 2008 can be seen as a "broadly defined" peace accord.

For example, Ma said, opening Taiwan's tourism market to China indicates an effort to institutionalize the peaceful development across the strait.

"If there is a war going on, how can you open your border to the other side? Only when peace is prevailing can there be an opening up to each other," he said.

As more such agreements are signed, the foundation of peace will become more and more solid, according to the president.

He said relations between Taiwan and China are different from other countries that had been at war. Usually they have to sign a truce accord before signing a peace accord, he noted.

"By moving forward the current situation of peaceful and prosperous development, we have already met the goals of the two sides of the strait," he said.

Of the 16 agreements between the two sides, Ma particularly mentioned the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) that was inked on June 29, 2010.

After the ECFA was signed, Singapore announced on Aug. 5 that year its intention to negotiate a wide ranging economic cooperation agreement with Taiwan, while New Zealand made a similar announcement later, and Japan signed an investment pact with Taiwan last September, Ma noted.

The ECFA "has put Taiwan back on the world economic map" because many countries have started to reevaluate Taiwan's importance to the world economy, the president said.

"This is a matter of great importance," he added.

While Taiwan is working to improve its relations with China, it has not neglected to do the same with the rest of the world, Ma said. "We have been doing both at the same time," he stressed.

In contrast, during the Democratic Progressive Party's eight years in power from 2000-2008, Taiwan failed to improve either its ties with China or with the rest of the world, Ma said.

(By Lee Shu-hua and S.C. Chang)
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