The AP interviews President Ma...
There's nothing new or particularly surprising in this interview, yet the Ma administration came out to emphasize there is no time table for political talks, that they will not necessarily occur during his second term, and that economic issues come first.
Any political union, he said, would require Beijing to adopt democracy and respect for human rights, under special scrutiny following the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed China democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo. Because of such concerns, Ma did not cite any timetable for the process, saying it would be a "long historical" transition....
In between the poles of union and separation, Ma said his government is prepared to discuss political agreements, including security issues, as soon as the priority economic issues are dealt with. He suggested that those political talks could start as early as a second four-year term if he wins re-election in 2012.
"We are not intentionally delaying the talks on political issues. Certainly the economic ones are more important to people here. People also support the idea (of) economy first, politics later," said Ma. Asked if he would move to political talks in a second term once economic issues are dealt with, Ma said "it depends on how fast we move." Political issues, he said, "will come after all the major economic issues are resolved."
Among the crucial economic agreements that first need to be tackled, Ma said, are those on investment guarantees, ways to resolve disputes and tariff and other barriers to the two sides more than US$100 billion in trade.
Ma nearly accuses the AP of putting words in his mouth about the negotiations, because all the focus was on the prospect of political talks. Really, it's just that international news outlets chose the juicy bits about political talks for their edited versions of the AP article, and this created a sort of backlash after Taiwan media saw and yelled, "Look what Ma said to the AP!"