Sat, May 19, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Cross-strait laws in need of reform, upgrading: Ma

Staff Writer, with CNA

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that current laws on cross-strait affairs need an overhaul amid the changing relations between Taiwan and China.

Ma said this was necessary to address new demands that have emerged as a result of more frequent exchanges between the two sides over the past four years.

“The new regulations must stay ahead of the times,” Ma said at the inauguration of the new Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) building in Taipei.

Ma said he has instructed the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), which handles Taiwan’s cross-strait policymaking, to examine cross-strait laws, adding that the functions of the SEF are also open to adjustment.

He also said the establishment of reciprocal offices between the SEF and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), was necessary to facilitate cross-strait dialogue.

The establishment of such offices, according to SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), would require the council to make a formal proposal to the legislature.

Chiang, who also attended the inauguration ceremony for the new offices, said the next round of high-level talks between Taiwan and China would take place in the new facility.

Chiang said that agreements on investment protection and customs cooperation are likely to be sealed during the next round of talks, expected to take place by the end of next month.

In related news, a survey released on Thursday by the MAC showed that 70 percent of adults in Taiwan favor the “status quo” across the Strait, while a little over 70 percent thought that Taiwan’s freedom and democracy would have a positive influence on China as the two sides continue to have exchanges.

The council released the results of the survey prior to Ma’s re-inauguration tomorrow.

The survey found that 67 percent of Taiwanese over 20 years of age agree that “benevolent interaction” across the Strait is possible when both sides jointly participate in international organizations or international activities on an equal footing and with dignity.

Two-thirds of those polled said institutional talks across the strait are helpful for stabilizing and improving ties and 62 percent support the government strategy of dealing with economic issues first before tackling knottier issues, according to the survey.

With the eighth round of high-level talks between Taipei and Beijing scheduled to take place next month, 69.1 percent of respondents said they supported the government proposal to sign an investment protection pact with China and 78.8 percent supported the inking of a customs cooperation pact.

The survey, conducted on May 3 through May 6, had 1,075 valid responses, with a margin of error of 2.99 percentage points.

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