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2004-05-07 17:25:18

    Taipei, May 7 (CNA) The notion that the status quo across the Taiwan Strait should remain unchanged is the consensus of the Taiwan people, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Chen Ming-tong claimed Friday.

    Quoting the results of the latest opinion poll, Chen said the great majority of the respondents favor the status quo, the stance of the respondents is firm and clear and they are supportive of the government's decision to work out coping measures before further opening cross-strait exchanges.

    With a view to exploring public opinion on cross-Taiwan Strait issues, the Cabinet-level MAC commissioned the Election Study Center of National Chengchi University to conduct a telephone poll April 23-25. A total of 1,083 valid samples were collected.

    A total of 84 percent of the respondents said they want the cross-strait status quo to be maintained and will decide whether to support unification with mainland China or Taiwan independence depending on the situation in the future.

    As many as 80.8 percent of the respondents said they are opposed to Beijing's "one country, two systems" unification scheme that it would like to be imposed on Taiwan, a level 9.4 percent higher than the percentage recorded in the previous poll conducted in November. Only 8.3 percent gave a thumbs-up to the proposal.

    Chen attributed the increase in the opposition to "one country, two systems" to Beijing's recent suppression of the Hong Kong people's seeking political reforms in the special administrative region.

    Meanwhile, according to the poll, the percentage of respondents supporting Taiwan independence before long declined to 3.3 percent, down from 6.4 percent recorded in the previous poll.

    Chen attributed the decline to the fact that the Democratic Progressive Party-ruled government has continuously and strenuously assured the people and the world that Taiwan is a sovereign state whose designation is the Republic of China and that there is no need to proclaim formal independence because Taiwan has been independent for a long time.

    A total of 38 percent of those polled said they think the current speed of cross-strait business and trade exchanges is "just about OK, " while 51 percent said the government's allowing more open investment in mainland China should be strictly controlled, a level 10 percent lower than the level in the previous poll. A total of 27 percent of the respondents said the government should further relax investment restrictions, compared with 18.1 percent posted in the previous poll.

    On the issue of the opening of direct shipping and air links across the Taiwan Strait, 74 percent of the respondents said direct transportation links should be opened "conditionally, " while 57 percent said such opening should be conducted in a gradual manner.

    The poll also found that 65.9 percent of the respondents think the mainland authorities have been "unfriendly" toward their Taiwan counterparts, while 46.1 percent think the mainland authorities have been "unfriendly" toward the people of Taiwan, a level a bit lower than the percentages recorded in the previous poll.

    While 38.6 percent said they feel that developing ties with other countries should be given priority, 28.9 percent said they think it is more important to develop ties with the mainland. Some 20.2 percent said the two issues are equally important.

    Even if forging diplomatic ties strains cross-strait relations, 68 percent said the government should still go ahead with such bids.

    The telephone poll of randomly chosen adults islandwide had a margin of error of 2.98 percent.

(By Deborah Kuo)


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