The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will normalize Taiwan's exchanges with China if the party regains power in 2008, KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (
Ma made the remarks during a live online broadcast of the British Broadcasting Corp's Chinese-language service, while fielding questions from Web users around the world.
He said that at present, the conditions do not exist for Taiwan's unification with China because of the vast differences between the two sides of the Strait.
The two sides need to set up the necessary mechanisms, normalize their exchanges, increase mutual understanding, wait for all conditions to mature and then leave it to the people on both sides to determine whether they want unification, Ma said.
He stressed that the matter should not be left simply to the leaders of Taiwan and China to decide.
The KMT chairman said his party would not rule out the possibility of discussing the unification issue with Beijing, but will not be committed to any timetable for unification with China.
There is still much room for China's improvement and development in order to narrow its gap with Taiwan.
For example, China must first become a democratic society with equitable wealth distribution for its people, and its government must respect basic civic rights, he said.
Asked about President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) recent proposal to scrap the National Unification Council and unification guidelines, Ma said Chen was probably trying to test the waters in order to see the world's reaction.
Ma said that the president could also be trying to use the unification council issue to divert the public's attention from a series of problems in his administration, including the involvement of senior government officials in corruption scandals.
Responding to Ma's remarks that the "the people on both sides" should determine whether they want unification, executive director of the Institute for National Policy Research Lo Chih-cheng (
Lo said that according to the institute's latest survey, 80 percent of respondents feel Taiwan's future should be determined solely by its 23 million people.
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