Taipei: Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou
will seek to open political negotiations with Beijing if he is
re-elected, a leaked US diplomatic cable says contrary to his
The idea of political, as opposed to trade, talks with
the mainland is highly sensitive in Taiwan, which Beijing
still regards as part of its territory awaiting reunification,
by force if necessary.
The two split in 1949 at the end of a civil war, and Ma`s
administration has said it has no plans for political
negotiations with Beijing.
But Taiwan`s Vice President Vincent Siew told Stephen
Young, then director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the
de facto US embassy, that Ma would seek to start them if he
was re-elected in 2012, according to the cable published by
Siew made the remarks in 2009 when Young paid him a
"If Ma is re-elected in 2012, observed the Vice
President, the administration will confront the more difficult
challenge of resolving outstanding cross-Strait political
issues," the cable said.
The issues may include "a peace treaty, a formal end to
hostilities, and development of bilateral military confidence
mechanisms," Siew was quoted as saying.
"These `highly political` issues will be controversial in
Taiwan," said Siew, "but (we) should be able to build on four
years of cooperative engagement on economic issues."
Ties between Taiwan and its giant neighbour have improved
significantly since the Beijing-friendly and economics-focused
Kuomintang party took power in Taipei in 2008.
In June last year Taiwan and China signed the landmark
Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), a pact widely
characterised as the boldest step yet towards reconciliation.
However, the island`s leading pro-independence opposition
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has repeatedly accused Ma
of trading Taiwan`s sovereignty for economic benefits from
DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, the party`s presidential
candidate told supporters at a rally in central Taichung on
yesterday night that Ma might sell out Taiwan in his second
term, an allegation the incumbent flatly rejects.
Tsai, the island`s first female presidential
candidate, will take on Ma who is seeking a second and final
four-year term, in January`s vote.