President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will open political talks with China if he is re-elected to a second term, a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks cited Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) as saying.
Siew’s June 2009 statement to then American Institute in Taiwan director Stephen Young was the clearest indication so far by a senior official that Ma would expand on existing economic talks if he were re-elected in January.
Since Ma’s Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) took office in May 2008, he has significantly improved ties with China by facilitating several successful trade agreements.
Public opinion polls give Ma a small lead over Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in the Jan. 14 elections. Tsai and her party say Ma is moving too far and too fast in his bid to improve relations with China, threatening Taiwan’s de facto independence in the process.
For his part, Ma says the DPP presidential nominee lacks a coherent policy for dealing with Beijing.
The WikiLeaks cable, dated June 30, 2009, quoted Siew as saying that political talks during a possible Ma second term would address key issues including “a peace treaty, a formal end to hostilities and development of bilateral military confidence mechanisms” with China.
In the past, Ma has put as a condition for opening political discussions with Beijing that China remove the estimated 1,500 missiles it has aimed at Taiwanese targets. However, there was no mention of this condition in the cable.
In public statements, Ma has usually been vague on the political talks with China issue, saying that until more progress is made on economic questions — the centerpiece of his three-and-a-half year administration — there was no need to consider the political side.
However, he has acknowledged in private conversations that China might be forcing his hand.
In a separate WikiLeaks cable dated Dec. 15, 2009, he told a senior US defense official that activities by the People’s Liberation Army could convince Taipei to enter into political talks with Beijing. enter into political talks with Beijing.
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