MAC sees peace accord as way to maintain cross-strait status quo
ROC Central News Agency
By Lee Hsin-Yin
Taipei, Oct. 18 (CNA) The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Tuesday that President Ma Ying-jeou's consideration of signing a peace accord with China is an attempt to sustain the cross-strait status quo instead of changing it, as was charged by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
"The status quo means that under the framework of our constitution, we will maintain the principles of no unification, no independence, and no use of force," said MAC Minister Lai Shin-yuan.
"The concept is supported by 90 percent of Taiwan's people and shall remain forever."
After Ma on Monday gave his strongest hint since being elected in 2008 that he intends to push for a peace agreement with China within the next decade, the DPP strongly criticized the idea, saying it would change the status quo and push Taiwan toward unification.
Rejecting the DPP's argument, Lai contended that a possible peace agreement with China would further strengthen pre-existing institutional talks that have proven fruitful.
"We have learned from previous experience that to promote cross-strait relations, it takes two to tango," Lai said, adding that China would also have to remove its hostility against Taiwan to win its trust.
To move toward the goal of a peace accord, Lai said both sides could start by establishing representative offices in each other's territories, as they have already done with tourism offices.
Ma said Monday he could foresee considering a peace pact within a decade, but Lai insisted there was no timetable for reaching such an agreement and said it would only be an option should there be a strong domestic consensus on the issue.
She did not elaborate, however, on how public opinion would be gauged and whether it would involve opinion polls or a national referendum.
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