Tue, Dec 02, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Cross-strait peace pact is unlikely: prediction center

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The visit of Chinese cross-strait negotiator Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) would not help boost the number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan nor would it increase the possibility of signing a cross-strait common market or peace agreement with China, the latest analysis released by a prediction center showed.

The study, conducted by National Chengchi University's Center for Prediction Markets, found that the market was not optimistic about the impact of Chen's visit on the number of Chinese visiting Taiwan.

During his visit early last month, Chen signed four agreements with his Taiwanese counterpart, Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤). The four agreements covered cross-strait aviation routes, sea transportation links, postal services and a food safety mechanism.

The administration hopes that with more convenient cross-strait transportation, more Chinese tourists would visit Taiwan and boost the economy.

However, the possibility that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan would not exceed that of the previous two years rose to 85 percent after Chen's visit, from 82 percent, the report said.

Statistics showed that more than 98,000 Chinese tourists visited Taiwan in 2006, but the number dropped to about 81,000 last year. The center predicted that the number of Chinese visitors this year would not surpass the numbers of the past two years.

The chances that Taiwan and China would not sign an agreement on setting up a cross-strait common market increased from 93 percent to 98 percent, the report said. The likelihood that both sides would not sign a peace pact also rose from 95 percent to 99 percent.

The center said that although tensions in the Taiwan Strait had eased since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) came to power, the public remained cautious about the possibility of an end to cross-strait hostilities or progress in cross-strait relations.

Despite the four accords signed between Chen and Chiang last month, the report said the odds that Taipei and Beijing would sign a pact to end hostilities or advance peace were as little as 1 percent.

By the same token, the public was pessimistic about the probability that both sides would sign an accord on establishing a cross-strait common market.

However, the public seemed to have high hopes for the two giant pandas that China has offered as gifts to Taiwan.

The plausibility that the pair would come to Taiwan this month surged to 79 percent after Chen's visit from 39 percent before.

The center makes predictions on various issues, including politics, economy, cross-strait affairs, international affairs, social affairs, sports and entertainment. Those interested in future predictions are welcome to join the future event-trading house, Swarchy. Members can tender virtual bidding on diverse events and the bidding price will serve as the reference for the predictions on the targeted issues.

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