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Referendum needed to push forward peace pact with China: official

ROC Central News Agency

2011/10/20 00:12:46

By Kelven Huang and S.C. Chang

Taipei, Oct. 19 (CNA) The government will definitely hold a referendum before it pushes forward President Ma Ying-jeou's idea for signing a peace pact with mainland China, his spokesman said late Wednesday.

Fan Chiang Tai-chi stressed that if the referendum, likely to be initiated by the Legislative Yuan, fails to win a majority of the voters' support, then the government will not continue to promote the idea of signing such a pact.

The spokesman made his remarks after Ma's presidential contender Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), accused Ma for staking the country's future on his personal political gains by floating such an idea.

The spokesman said the president had made it clear that three conditions must be met before the government pushes ahead this idea: that it wins a solid public support, that it meets the genuine needs of the country, and that the whole process is monitored by the Legislature.

What the president means by "public support" is to win it through a referendum, Fan Chiang said in a press release.

The Legislature will have to approve a proposal to hold such a referendum before the people will have a chance to vote on it; and if the vote fails, then the government will not proceed with the "peace pact" proposal, he said.

Fan Chiang put the issue in perspective, saying Ma has always insisted on the principle of "economy ahead of politics" in dealing with cross-strait affairs.

Whether the government should carefully consider the possibility of signing a peace accord with mainland China should be looked at from the same perspective, he added.

He further pointed out that the president had, in his "golden decade" blueprint, offered four assurances -- that the government will ensure the sovereignty of the Republic of China, that it will ensure Taiwan's security and prosperity, that it will ensure ethnic harmony and cross-strait peace, and that it will ensure a sustainable environment and social justice."

Such assurances poke a hole in Tsai's accusation that Ma's peace pact idea risks sacrificing Taiwan's sovereignty, changing the status quo across the strait, endangering Taiwan's hard-earned democracy and undermining Taiwan's strategic position, according to Fan Chiang.

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