Sat, Sep 10, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Governments must talk, survey says

CROSS-STRAIT Taiwan's people feel that talks with Beijing on affairs across the Strait should be held by the government, a survey found, rather than by any private group

BY SHIH HSIU-CHUAN  /  STAFF REPORTER

The latest government survey on cross-strait negotiations showed that 58.8 percent of respondents wanted talks to be conducted by the government rather than private groups appointed by the Chinese government.

In addition, 76.2 percent of respondents thought that the Chinese government's demand to designate the Taiwanese groups they would negotiate with was beyond all reason, and 51.5 percent of the respondents didn't think that China was willing to negotiate sincerely with Taiwan.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday announced the results of the routine survey, entitled "The Public's Views on Current Cross-Strait Relations," conducted by the Election Study Center of National Chengchi University.

Although the opposition parties and some private groups have been actively engaged in cross-strait interactions -- like negotiating issues such as the fruit trade and cargo charter flights with Chinese authorities -- the survey showed that most respondents were against these activi-ties, You Ying-lung (游盈隆), MAC vice chairman, said.

The poll was conducted from Aug. 26 to Aug. 28, through a telephone survey of Taiwanese citizens over the age of 20. A total of 1,096 valid samples were collected. With a 95 percent rate of reliability, sampling error was approximately 2.96 percent.

Regarding cross-strait security issues, 63.1 percent of respondents thought that the expansion of the Chinese military posed a threat to its neighbors.

The survey also showed that 87.7 percent of respondents supported President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) proposal to establish a "peace and stability" framework for cross-strait interactions to build consensus and for the welfare of the people on both sides of the Strait, You said.

According to the survey, the people's thoughts on the issue of reunification with China or independence remained at almost the same level as before -- with 84.8 percent of respondents supporting maintaining the status quo.

Among these, respondents supporting "maintaining the status quo and deciding on independence or unification later depending on the circumstances" made up the largest proportion (40.5 percent), which is consistent with the trend in previous surveys.

As for the pace of relaxation of cross-Strait civilian exchanges, 34.1 percent of the respondents said that it was "just right," a decrease of 6.1 percent from a survey conducted in May. In addi-tion, 25.1 percent of respondents thought the pace was "too slow" while 25 percent thought it was "too fast."

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