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Referendum a must for China treaty: Taiwan leader
by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) Oct 20, 2011

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou Thursday moved to reassure voters over his proposals for a peace treaty with China, saying it would only be signed if it was first approved in a referendum.

Reactions were mixed after Ma on Monday suggested the island should consider a peace treaty with China within the coming decade, formally ending a civil war that has actually been over since 1949.

It is widely considered one of the thorniest issues in the complex relations between China and Taiwan, reflected in Ma's reassurance that it would only happen if the island's people agreed.

"We will put the matter to vote if we are going to seek the cross-strait peace treaty in the future. We will not sign the treaty if it is not approved in a referendum," Ma told reporters.

Ma, whose first four-year term is approaching its end, is running for re-election in polls set for the middle of January.

His first term has been focused on economic exchanges with China, based on the philosophy that trade and investment are less contentious issues than political talks.

Taiwan's pro-independence opposition camp has reacted furiously to the peace treaty, accusing Ma of leading Taiwan down the road to reunification with the mainland.

"Ma is responding to China's call to set a time table for unification. His rash cross-strait policy is very disturbing," the opposition Democratic Progressive Party said in a statement.

Observers have so far tended to believe a peace treaty is a rather remote prospect, because it will involve difficult questions, such as who should sign the agreement on either side.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan even though the island has ruled itself since the de facto end of the civil war 62 years ago, when Chinese nationalists, beaten by the communists, fled across the narrow Taiwan Strait.

Although ties have improved since Ma assumed power in 2008, China still has not given up the possibility of using force to bring about reunification.

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Taiwan ex-leaders blast China treaty proposal
Taipei (AFP) Oct 19, 2011
Two former Taiwan presidents blasted a proposal by incumbent Ma Ying-jeou to pursue a peace treaty with China, warning it could cause the island to give up its sovereignty to the mainland. "The peace treaty will be a surrender and unification treaty... Ma intends to turn Taiwan into a province of China," Ma's predecessor Chen Shui-bian, now in jail for corruption, said in a statement issued ... read more

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