Tue, Nov 10, 2015 - Page 3 News List

MA-XI MEETING: Survey shows Taiwanese ‘dissatisfied’ over meeting

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Nearly half of the respondents to a survey asking people how they felt about President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) performance in his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore on Saturday said they were dissatisfied, the Cross-Strait Policy Association survey showed yesterday.

Conducted on Sunday evening, the poll showed 48.5 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with Ma’s achievements at the meeting, while 39.6 percent thought otherwise.

Of those polled, 46.8 percent said Ma failed to safeguard the Republic of China’s (ROC) sovereignty and interests during the meeting, compared with 32.9 percent who thought that the president did a good job.

While respondents were relatively divided over Ma’s overall performance, most agreed on the potential effects the meeting might have on the definition of cross-strait relations, Taiwan’s international space and China’s military threat.

The majority — 59.6 percent — of respondents did not believe Xi would accept the cross-strait stance of “one China, with different interpretations” — which Ma said he raised during his closed-door talks with Xi — while 22 percent were convinced that Xi would welcome the principle.

The survey showed that 56.7 percent of respondents did not think China would agree to Ma’s proposal for Taiwan to have more international space supported by China.

The majority of respondents — 70.9 percent — were not persuaded by Xi’s explanation that the more than 1,000 missiles aimed toward the Taiwan Strait were not targeted at Taiwan, while 19.7 percent trusted the Chinese leader’s remarks.

Most pan-blue and pan-green respondents were not convinced by Xi’s answer, at 90.6 percent and 56.8 percent respectively, the poll showed.

While some political analysts have interpreted the meeting as an attempt to coerce Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) — the frontrunner for the presidency — into following his direction for cross-strait developments, 48.3 percent of those polled did not think that the next president was obligated to abide by the agreements reached during the meeting. While 33.1 percent said it was necessary for the next leader to do so, 18.5 percent declined to express an opinion.

Despite Ma and Xi’s declarations at the meeting that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to “one China,” the vast majority of respondents — 80.9 percent — identified with the perception that “both sides are two different countries” in terms of current and future cross-strait relations.

It was followed by the notion of “promoting cross-strait relations in accordance with the ROC Constitution,” which was backed by 67.4 percent of respondents if multiple answers were allowed. Only 34.2 percent preferred cross-strait ties based on the “1992 consensus” that advocates “one China.”

The “1992 consensus” refers to a supposed understanding reached during cross-strait talks in 1992 that both Taiwan and China acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what that means.

The meeting also seemed to have little impact on the upcoming presidential election, with Tsai continuing to hold the lead in the polls at 48.6 percent, up 3.4 percentage points from last month.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫) garnered 21.4 percent support, down from 21.9 percent last month, while People First Party candidate James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) support rating dropped from 13.8 percent to 8.3 percent.

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