Tue, Feb 17, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Public backs China policy: MAC

GETTING CLOSER After economists warned of over-reliance on China’s economy, the MAC said polls had shown most people supported attempts at improving ties

By Jenny W. hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Vice Chairman Liu Teh-hsun (劉德勳) said yesterday that the public was confident that cross-strait political stability and economic development will grow in the next four years, adding that the direction of negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between Taiwan and China had been set, although no details have been discussed.

Several leading economists on Sunday warned about the danger of Taiwan’s heavy reliance on China and urged the government to spend more time researching whether China has policies that put Taiwan at a disadvantage.

“Instead of paying attention to the bigger issues, the [Ma Ying-jeou, 馬英九] administration is acting like a beggar, imploring China to allow the import of Taiwanese oranges. Who in their right mind would resort to begging during a trade negotiation?” said Chen Poh-chih (陳博志), chairman of Taiwan Thinktank, adding that Ma’s economic policies had bankrupted the country and increased injustice and disparity.

National Taiwan University professor of economics Kenneth Lin (林尚愷) said Taiwan had become so dependent on China that, “If China catches a cold, Taiwan will end up with vomiting and diarrhea.”

In a compilation of 108 surveys that were given on cross-strait issues last year, MAC said 52 percent to 68 percent of respondents believed cross-strait relations were gradually improving and at least 67 percent were satisfied with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) policies toward China.

Despite three days of street protests and massive rallies against a visit by Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) in November, the MAC still said 56 percent to 58 percent of the public supported the visit and approved of the results of a meeting in which Taipei and Beijing signed four agreements on air and sea shipping, postal services and food safety.

None of the surveys polled the people’s views on how the government handled the protests. It was estimated that more than 100 people, including police officers, were injured in the clash. TV footage showed some police forcefully removing independence supporters and banning the display of Republic of China flags.

The MAC also said the majority of the public lauded the opening of direct cross-strait flights and allowing Chinese tourists to come to Taiwan, with between 60 percent and 67 percent of those surveyed agreeing that the establishment of direct flights boosted Taiwan’s competitiveness.

On the political side, the MAC said that nearly 80 percent agreed with Ma’s policy of “no unification, no independence, no military action” and his stance on maintaining the so-called “status quo.”

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