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Peace pact with China could be considered within 10 years: Ma

ROC Central News Agency

2011/10/17 22:08:33

By James Lee

Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Monday that his government would "cautiously consider" whether Taiwan should sign a peace agreement with China within the next decade, but stressed such a move would require strong domestic backing.

"We are now thinking of cautiously considering whether we should sign a cross-strait peace agreement within the next decade, as the two sides' relations are gradually improving," Ma said.

He added, however, that his administration would only do so if it had strong domestic support and such a pact met the actual needs of the country. He also said the pact would have to be supervised by the Legislature.

"There is no timetable for this and we would only do so when the time is right," the president said.

The critical principle in promoting cross-strait relations is to move "step by step," the president said.

"Our approach is to put economics before politics, pressing matters before less pressing ones, and easily resolved issues before difficult ones," Ma said.

The peace pact with China would be aimed at creating sustainable peace between the two sides, Ma said, but he added that signing the pact was "not the first priority at present."

Ma, who is running for re-election in January 2012, raised the idea of the peace pact at a news conference where he presented the latest in a series of "golden decade" plans for the country's development over the next 10 years.

Ma also proposed that Taiwan and China move toward a new level of cooperation on global issues such as food safety, public health, humanitarian aid, green energy and climate change, according to a statement.

At the same time, the president vowed to continue to promote institutionalized talks between the two sides. Such talks began after Ma took office in 2008.

Ma said on March 23, 2006 in his capacity as chairman of the Kuomintang, then Taiwan's opposition party, that if returned to power, his party would seek to ink a peace accord with mainland China.

After taking office in May 2008, President Ma has said several times that his administration would not rule out the possibility of a peace deal with Beijing.

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