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Dec 4, 2008

Ma says peace treaty not pressing issue

Taiwan News reports...

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that signing a peace treaty with political rival China, which sees the island as its own, was not an urgent matter because trade issues were more pressing.

"This is something that both sides have in mind, but it's not really an urgent question for both sides to engage each other on because hostility or even the atmosphere of hostility across the Taiwan Strait has been reduced to an all-time low," Ma told a news conference with foreign correspondents....

The two sides plan to discuss deals on financial services, double taxation and crime fighting at talks in early 2009, Ma said. Prevention of disease epidemics will also be on the agenda, his vice president, Vincent Siew, said earlier in the day.

So then I think the time table may look like this:

+ Issues mentioned above in 2009

+ CEPA in Marchish-2009

+ Peace treaty discussions start & partial removal of missiles by Augustish-2009.

3 comments:

Haitien said...

I wouldn't be surprised if Ma tried to pull off another "breakthrough" right before the local elections at the end of the year.

Thomas said...

"financial services, double taxation and crime fighting at talks in early 2009"

Again, these are very low hanging fruit. Most Taiwanese will support these talks, and I would see no reason why they shouldn't if sovereignty was truly being protected. The killer is Ma's bending over backwards to show he and Taiwan are Chinese. I just wonder if Taiwanese will start to believe him.

I disagree that peace talks would happen on your time frame though. I imagine they will try to put some more simple agreements in there at six-month intervals. Jumping right to peace talks before the end of next year would be jarring to say the least, and it would potentially throw a wrench in the local elections for the KMT if, for some reason, the public recognised the swift shift and became concerned. We all know that there will be no peace agreement without some sort of statement that Taiwan is not independent or some sort of subordination to China. And this would play right into the hands of the DPP. If the KMT wins the local elections, then it is all over. Ma will win reelection.

Ma will then embark on a "peace agreement" to his second term, which he (and I sadly) is confident he will win, having corralled up the DPP heavyweights and therefore neutered the opposition.

Then, when he no longer has to worry about reelection, and when the economy is improving, the peace talks will start. Taiwanese will have no options except to occupy airports and ports to cripple the economy, Thailand style. Would they do this? I am even growing doubtful of that.

阿牛 said...

Thomas,

I agree that financial services etc. are low hanging fruit, but I think it's important not to underestimate the speed Ma may move toward a peace treaty. He has already publicly stated his intention to get it done in his first term, just in case he doesn't win a second one.