Majority support mechanism for China talks: poll

CONTENT::Most people feel tensions across the Strait have eased since Ma came into office and 87% said they want to maintain the current relationship with China

By Ko Shu-ling  /  Staff Reporter

Sun, Jan 09, 2011 - Page 3

A poll recently commissioned by the Mainland Affairs Council suggests that a majority of Taiwanese support an institutionalized negotiation mechanism to handle problems between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The survey found that 72 percent of respondents said they supported Taipei and Beijing tackling cross-strait problems via institutionalized negotiations, compared with 15.1 percent of respondents that opposed the mechanism.

About 62 percent said they were happy with the agreement on cross-strait medical and health cooperation signed last month, saying it could advance the development of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

The poll also showed that about 44 percent of respondents said the speed of cross-strait liberalization was just right, while nearly 36 percent said it was going too fast and 12 percent said it was too slow.

When asked about cross-strait relations, nearly 58 percent said cross-strait tensions have eased since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office in May 2008, compared with 26 percent who said tensions remained the same and 10.2 percent said the situation has become more tense.

Regarding the nation’s future, more than 87 percent still preferred to maintain the “status quo.” About 6 percent of respondents said they favored declaring independence as soon as possible and only 1.2 percent said they felt unification with China was the best course of action.

When asked about the Chinese government’s attitude toward the Taiwanese government, more than 51 percent said it was unfriendly, while 34 percent said it was friendly and 14.4 percent did not offer any opinion.

As for Beijing’s attitude toward the Taiwanese public, about 48 percent said it was unfriendly, compared with 39.3 percent who said it was friendly. About 12 percent of respondents said they did not know or expressed no opinion.

The poll, conducted by National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center, questioned 1,070 adults nationwide between Dec. 24 and Dec. 27. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

In other developments, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) is scheduled to visit Matsu on Friday and Saturday to inspect transportation links with China, know as the “mini three links,” prior to the Lunar New Year.

Emphasizing that the activity is “routine,” the council said in a statement that Lai will visit the defense command post on Matsu and meet with Lienchiang County Commissioner Yang Sui-sheng (楊綏生) on Friday. She will then visit Nangan Island (南竿島) — the largest island in the Matsu chain — on Friday afternoon to examine how the mini three links with China. On Saturday, Lai will visit Beigan Island (北竿島).

The mini three links, established in January 2001, opened the door for residents of Kinmen and Matsu to travel to Xiamen in Fujian Province without restrictions. Penghu was not included in the transportation links until October 2008.