Ma Ying-jeou to sign peace agreement with China, if elected
By David Young, The China Post
Kuomintang candidate for president Ma Ying-jeou repeated yesterday he would sign a peace agreement with China, if he were elected in March next year.
In a keynote speech before the General Council for Service to Taiwan Businessmen in China, Ma said dialogue must be resumed at once to resolve all outstanding issues across the Taiwan Strait.
Ma said negotiations can begin in line with what is known as the consensus of 1992, a sine qua non laid down by Beijing which President Chen Shui-bian has refused to accept in order to resume dialogue over the past seven years.
Under the unsigned agreement, Taipei and Beijing acknowledge there is but one China, whose connotation can be individually and orally expressed.
That is a sort of modus vivendi, which, in fact, made possible two meetings between the heads of the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Association of Relations Across the Taiwan Strait.
Both are semi-official organizations in charge of the conduct of “unofficial” relations between Taiwan and China.
In those two meetings, a number of outstanding issues in “substantial” relations between the two sides of the Strait were solved.
It was the Kuomintang reached that consensus with China. Ma reiterated, probably for the tenth time, that Taipei and Beijing would sign an agreement on peace to ensure security in the Taiwan Strait.
Lien Chan, Ma’s predecessor, already secured a “peace” agreement between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party in 2005. The two parties fought a civil war, at the end of which Chiang Kai-shek had to flee China to Taiwan in 1949.
Aside from the repetition of the signing of the peace treaty, Ma counted chickens before they were hatched.
He told Taiwan business leaders he would get the Taiwan economy to grow at least six percent each year and raise per capita income to US$20,000 by 2011.
Taiwan’s per capita income stands at US$13,000.
“I could do so,” Ma said, “because I’m going to remove all the obstacles – political instability, an instable government, and inconsistent policies.”
Those obstacles have been put in the way to Taiwan’s better economic performance by the current government, Ma charged.
Direct flights and shipping across the Strait, Ma went on, will become a reality in one year’s time. He told Channel NewsAsia TV network in Singapore of his timetable Sunday.
That would make at least 10,000 Chinese tourists come to Taiwan in four years. “Every one of them is expected to spend NT$7,000 a day,” Ma continued, “and that means NT$60 billion a year. If gains in related industries are added, Taiwan stands to earn NT$100 billion.”
Another plan Ma would carry out if he were president is to deregulate trade and investment across the Strait. “It’s going to be open in general and under control as an exception,” Ma said.
There can be no other way. Taiwan businesses have been trying to move their operations to China often in violation of the government ban on investment in sensitive industries, including wafer and chip manufacturing.
Still another is to push for a common market across the Strait. “There still remain difficulties,” Ma admitted, “but we’ll start with getting an agreement on economic cooperation.”
Taipei does not want to sign a closer economic partnership agreement with Beijing, which has no plan to sign a free trade agreement with Taiwan.
Beijing has a CEPA with Hong Kong and Macao, which are part of Chinese territory. Taiwan wants an FTA, which China considers possible only with an independent, sovereign state.
China claims Taiwan as one of its provinces and promises to get it back to its fold by force, if necessary.
With the peace agreement signed, there will be no more military confrontation between Taiwan and China, Ma said. All cruise missiles deployed along the southeast coast of China targeting Taiwan have to be removed before the agreement is signed, he added.
Last but not least, Ma said, Beijing has to agree not to squeeze Taiwan out of the international community. That alone takes a great deal of diplomatic tact to persuade China to go along.