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Political talks unlikely during Ma's second term: U.S. scholars

2012/04/27 23:14:28

New York, April 26 (CNA) It is unlikely that Taiwan and China will began dialogue on political issues during President Ma Ying-jeou's second term, several scholars in the United States said at a seminar in New York Thursday.

With Ma's second term set to begin on May 20, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York held a seminar to discuss the trilateral relationship among Taiwan, China and the U.S.

Although the scholars had a positive view of Ma's efforts to improve ties across the Taiwan Strait during his first term, they felt there was little chance Taiwan and China would begin political dialogue in the next four years.

Columbia University professor Andrew Nathan said the strong reactions to Ma's proposal of a peace agreement with China last year and the "one country, two areas" idea suggested in March by Wu Poh-hsiung, honorary chairman of the ruling Kuomintang, showed that there is a lack of consensus within Taiwan.

In such an environment, Nathan said it was impossible for Taiwan and China to start political negotiations.

University of Richmond professor Vincent Wei-cheng Wang agreed and pointed to other factors mitigating against political talks, such as the decreasing number of Taiwanese identifying themselves as Chinese and the growing military threat from Beijing.

Wang added that should there be a cross-strait peace agreement, it must have content that eases the concerns of the Taiwanese public, such as, for example, a promise from Taiwan of not pursuing independence in exchange for pledge from China that it will not take military action.

Only such conditions, which would not likely be overturned even if the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regained power, could help further advance Taiwan-China ties, Wang said.

Meanwhile, University of Pennsylvania professor Jacques deLisle, who coordinated the seminar, does not expect Ma to make any major changes in his China policy because he has limited power under the Constitution and faces a DPP that picked up seats in the Legislature in the Jan. 14 legislative election.

As for China, with a transition to a new group of leaders led by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping set to begin in the fall, deLisle believed Beijing would continue President Hu Jintao's moderate approach to Taiwan-related issues.

(By Leaf Chiang and Kay Liu)