The China Post
By Joseph Yeh–Taiwan’s top intelligence chief yesterday voiced support over President Ma Ying-jeou’s recently proposed peace agreement with China by saying that such a framework for cross-strait stability is a must for the long-term development of the country and therefore requires early preparations. “It is a joint consensus of the nationals that the cross-strait issue has to be solved peacefully,” said National Security Bureau (NSB) Director Tsai Der-sheng yesterday during a legislative session. Tsai added that the president’s proposal is therefore a good thing since the proposed pact is a way to avoid possible outbreak of war. He also disclosed that he did participate in the high-level government officials’ meetings before Ma formally announced the Taiwan-China peace pact plan last week. The NSB head added that there have been discussions within the ruling administration on negotiation of a peace agreement with Beijing for years. He believes the timing for Ma’s recent announcement was made in order to reach consensus among the ruling and opposition parties first. The NSB head made the comments when asked by a ruling Kuomintang Legislator Lin Yu-fang on the topic that has been widely debated for the past week. In response, Tsai said Taiwan has to face the issue sooner or later, given the warming cross-strait ties within the past three years. A peace accord is the ultimate goal, which is much better than going into a war between both sides of the Strait, Tsai said. The intelligence chief also admitted that the timing and preconditions for its ultimate signing are points that draw widespread debate currently. However, Tsai said Ma has stressed that three premises for the proposed peace agreement include a pact that is strongly supported by the public, meets the actual needs of the country, and is supervised by the legislature. Ma also announced that the government would obtain approval from the public via a referendum prior to proceeding with signing a peace pact with mainland, he said. The government is only making preparations now and the time is not ripe for putting the proposal into reality now, Tsai added. 2012 Crucial for Cross-Strait Ties: Tsai
Meanwhile, the NSB head said yesterday that the upcoming presidential election next January in Taiwan and China’s 18th national congress to be held in September are two main factors that could affect cross-strait interactions. The Chinese government will undergo a major leadership reshuffle next year during the congress that could include the replacement of all senior Chinese officials on Taiwan affairs, the NSB chief said. The incumbent Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) has been regarded as taking a softer stance on Taiwan issue, he noted.
But if a new leader who decides to take a strong stance against Taiwan is gaining power, the relations between the two sides could undergo major challenges, he noted.