Taiwanese say Beijing should hold dialogue with DPP: poll - Focus Taiwan

Taiwanese say Beijing should hold dialogue with DPP: poll

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CNA photo

Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) A majority of Taiwanese think that Beijing should again hold a dialogue with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after its victory in the Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections, according to the results of a survey released Wednesday.

The survey, conducted by the Cross-Strait Policy Association over the two days following the election, asked respondents if they felt the Communist Chinese government should engage in dialogue with the DPP in the face of its major election victory.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the DPP won re-election on Jan. 11 by 19.5 percentage points over Han Kuo-yu of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), and the party also maintained its majority in the Legislature.

Three in five (59.8 percent) agreed that Beijing should hold talks with the DPP, while 20.5 percent disagreed, the survey found, and the proposition was supported by 68 percent of respondents who identify with the DPP and 53 percent who identify with the KMT.

Respondents also supported by a 78-11 percent margin the four elements Tsai said in her victory speech were necessary for interaction between Taiwan and China -- peace, parity, democracy and dialogue.

Chang Yu-Shau (張宇韶), a researcher with the association and a former DPP cross-strait affairs official, said the survey's results show a consensus between DPP-leaning pan-green supporters and KMT-leaning pan-blue supporters for a resumption of dialogue between Taiwan and China.

The Chinese government cut off official communications with the Tsai administration during her first term because of her party's pro-Taiwan independence stance and rejection of the "1992 consensus," that the previous KMT government used as the basis for interaction with Beijing.

The KMT saw the consensus as a tacit understanding between the KMT government and Beijing in 1992 that there is only one China, with each side free to interpret what "China" means.

The DPP says there was never a consensus and rejects its framework, which implies that Taiwan is part of "China."

Chang contended that the results of the presidential and legislative elections may have shocked Beijing, and that while it may not openly talk with Taipei, dialogue may happen behind the scenes.

Before that happens, however, Tsai may have to first seek dialogue with opposition parties to iron out differences from within before engaging a cross-strait dialogue, and she can show such willingness in her inauguration speech this May, Chang said.

Fan Shih-ping (范世平), a professor of politics at National Taiwan Normal University, echoed Chang, saying that Beijing should have received the signal sent by the Taiwanese people in the elections by now, and he argued that China could soften its position toward Taiwan in the future.

He said China has already shown signs of being willing to engage with Taiwan, including inviting two Taiwanese health experts to Wuhan to learn more about a mysterious disease there and allowing commentaries on Taiwan's elections in Chinese media.

"There is no need to be too pessimistic about cross-strait relations in the near future. Beijing might take softer measures toward Taiwan as it did with Hong Kong so as not to further push Taiwan to the side of the United States," Fan said.

The survey also found that 59 percent of respondents were confident in Tsai's ability to manage cross-strait issues and 60.8 percent said she could manage foreign affairs well.

The survey was conducted January 12-13 with 1,080 valid samples. It had a plus or minus 2.98 percentage point margin of error.

(By Emerson Lim)

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