Thu, Jul 29, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Report from legislative agency details the cross-strait political risk of ECFA

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

China may force Taiwan to negotiate and sign a peace agreement by 2012 following the recently signed cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), the legislature’s Organic Laws and Statutes Bureau said in a recent report.

China would follow up the ECFA by proposing a cross-strait peace agreement under the “one China” framework by 2012, the bureau said in the report, titled A Study on Mainland China’s Post-ECFA Political and Economic Strategy Toward Taiwan.

The report was completed after a delegation from the bureau and the legislature’s Budget Center went to Hong Kong in May to study the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between Hong Kong and China, as well as other issues.

The bureau and the Budget Center serve as consultants and researchers for legislators.

The report said Beijing would likely continue to insist the “one China” principle be the political foundation for cross-strait peace.

China’s moves against de jure Taiwanese independence would be more flexible and pragmatic after signing the ECFA on June 29, the report said.

China would likely offer preferential treatment in a bid to make a good impression on the Taiwanese and “eventually force our government to begin cross-strait political negotiations under public pressure in a bid to realize its strategic goal of forcing [Taiwan] to accept unification,” the report said.

Beijing would continue to block Taiwan from pursuing free-trade agreements (FTA) with other nations, making unification with China the only choice for Taiwan’s survival, the report said.

On June 23, the legislature was accused of delaying the evaluation report after finding that the report was negative and could affect the signing of the ECFA.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) have on several occasions said the ECFA was an economic issue and did not involve political or sovereignty issues, but the report released by the bureau and the center said otherwise.

“Although [signing] the ECFA was an economic issue, judging from international relations theories or the special relations across the Taiwan Strait, the impact of the ECFA on both sides makes it impossible that signing it would be simply an economic issue. It will involve a more complicated political agenda,” the report said.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said yesterday the nation should not be afraid if China were to propose a cross-strait peace agreement, as long as Taiwan insists on defending its sovereignty.

“The pursuit of a cross-strait peace deal is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as Taiwan’s sovereignty remains unchanged,” KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) said that many of the issues covered in the report were “hardly surprising.”

“The government only tells the public about the benefits of the ECFA, while conveniently forgetting about the potential fallout,” he said.

Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) said he respected the expertise of staffers at the bureau and the center but he would not comment on the report.

Executive Yuan Spokesman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), meanwhile, said a “peace agreement” between China and Taiwan was a “hypothetical issue” and “there is no need to elaborate on the subject.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY VINCENT Y. CHAO AND SHIH HSIU-CHUAN

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