Fri, Nov 01, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Majority favor cross-strait exchanges

BAD TIDINGS:A poll also revealed that the president’s approval rating is a paltry 14.3 percent, while the premier’s disapproval rating has reached its highest level yet

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Members of the public fling shoes at a vampire likeness of President Ma Ying-jeou as part of a cathartic Halloween event organized by the Taiwan Solidarity Union in Nantou County yesterday.

Photo: Hsieh Chieh-yu, Taipei Times

The majority of Taiwanese favor increased cross-strait exchanges, but appear to be very cautious about a peace agreement between Taiwan and China, the results of a public opinion poll released yesterday showed.

Asked if they support the signing of a bilateral peace agreement, with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) pledging “10 guarantees” in 2011, almost 70 percent of the respondents in a poll conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research (TISR) said negotiations for such an accord should not begin before receiving authorization from a national referendum.

The poll found that 26.8 percent of respondents said negotiations should only begin after a referendum, 17.1 percent said the government should negotiate first and put the result to a referendum, and 41.5 percent said that both the beginning of negotiations and the results should be authorized by referendums.

“That means a total of 68.3 percent of those polled would grant a go-ahead to negotiations for a peace deal only after a national referendum,” TISR general manager Tai Li-an (戴立安) said in a press release.

Approximately the same percentage of respondents, 67.9 percent, opposed the notion that if a cross-strait peace pact was signed, unification with China should be recognized as a national goal, with 17.2 percent supportive and 15 percent declining to provide an answer.

In a question that allowed respondents to make multiple choices, most expressed support for increased bilateral exchanges, including mutual visits by officials of the Mainland Affairs Council and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (60.2 percent), the establishment of representative offices on each other’s territory (57.5 percent) and shortening Chinese spouses’ waiting period for identification cards from six years to four (52.4 percent).

The support rate for trade pacts were lower, with 35.2 percent of those polled supporting a cross-strait trade in goods agreement and 31.8 percent supportive of the service trade pact, which was signed in June.

The respondents’ reaction to the order of priority between the service trade agreement and the trade in goods agreement, which is yet to be signed, appeared to be split, with 36.2 percent saying that the trade in goods pact could be signed before the current dispute over the service trade pact is settled, 42.7 percent opposing the proposal and 22.8 percent declining to answer.

The poll found Ma’s approval rating remained low at 14.3 percent, while his disapproval rating was 71.7 percent.

“A notable fact was that Ma’s disapproval rating was around 80 percent among respondents between 20 and 49 years old,” Tai said.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah’s (江宜樺) disapproval rating of 58.6 percent was the highest since he assumed the post in February, according to the poll.

The survey, conducted between Monday and Tuesday, collected 1,007 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

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