Sun, May 08, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Nation split on Lien invitation: poll

POLARIZED Response to a recent poll gauging reaction to the KMT chairman's trip to China broke predictably along party lines, with more believing Beijing is insincere

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

The nation is divided over whether Beijing's recent meeting with Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) is a gesture of good will, according to a poll released by the independence-leaning Taiwan Thinktank yesterday.

The survey found that while 40.9 percent of respondents felt Beijing's invitation for Lien to visit was an indication of good will, 45.2 percent said that the gesture was aimed at dividing Taiwanese sentiment.

Not surprisingly, opinion on the matter was divided along party lines, with 79.4 percent of survey participants who identified themselves as supporters of the pan-green camp viewing Beijing's invite as a move to polarize the nation. Only 13.2 percent of the pan-green supporters felt Beijing exhibited genuine good will in arranging to meet with opposition party leaders.

The majority of pan-blue supporters, 76.4 percent, was likewise in favor of interpreting Hu's invitation as a sign of good will.

The Taiwan Thinktank commissioned a survey asked about 1,000 respondents for their views on the recent contact between opposition parties and high-level Beijing authorities. Respondents were 20 years old or above and were contacted last Tuesday and Wednesday.

Explaining the poll results yesterday, Taipei Society chairman Hung Yu-hung (洪裕宏) said that Lien had given the impression during his trip to China that notions of sovereignty could be fudged.

Former Mainland Affairs Council vice chairman Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), remarking on the Taiwan Thinktank's poll yesterday, said that the results indicated a poor review of Lien's performance in China.

"Lien should really take a look at these poll results and consider what he did for the country in China," Chen said.

When asked which political leader was best to entrust with cross-strait relations, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) garnered 37.6 percent of the vote and Lien 30.2 percent. People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) came in as the respondent's last pick.

Significantly, however, more respondents felt that Soong could better cooperate with the government. Twenty percent said Lien could work with the governing party on cross-strait policies, but 39.5 percent thought Soong could do the job better.

While the majority of supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Soong would work better with the government, only 39.3 of KMT respondents thought their own chairman could work with the government; 34.1 percent of KMT participants opted for Soong on the question.

Perhaps more to the point, however, 17.8 percent felt that neither Soong nor Lien could cooperate with government officials. Among DPP participants, 24.4 percent felt neither opposition party candidate was capable of collaborating with the elected government.

Asked whether Lien had effectively defended the nation's sovereignty during his recent trip to Beijing, 28.9 percent responded in the affirmative, while 55.2 percent said he had not.

Similarly, 66 percent of respondents felt Lien had not protested the military threat Beijing posed to Taiwan; 16.2 percent of those polled felt he had.

"Lien focused primarily on economic matters, but a nation has other values. I am worried that this will degrade Taiwan, making it an economic nation only," Hung said, citing the need for cultural depth as well.

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