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Feb 16, 2009, No. 008

  • Date:2009-02-16

The MAC analyzes surveys of public opinion in Taiwan on cross-strait relations in 2008

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) presented a "Combined Analysis Report on Public Opinion Surveys on Cross- Strait Relations in 2008" at the MAC Council Meeting today (February 16, 2009). In the report, the MAC stated that public opinion surveys on cross-strait issues conducted last year by various sectors of society in Taiwan indicate that the people are pleased that cross-strait relations have eased up. The people not only have a high level of confidence in the ability of the government to maintain peace and stability in cross-strait relations, but they have also held an optimistic view of the future development of cross-strait relations.

In order to ensure that the government's promotion of Mainland policy is integrated with public opinion, the MAC has long compiled the findings of related public opinion surveys conducted by various sectors of society. Since May 20, 2008, cross-strait relations have been presented with new opportunities. Moreover, the resumption of institutionalized negotiations between the SEF and the ARATS as well as the development of other major events has placed cross-strait issues in the spotlight. The report notes that the MAC compiled the findings of 108 public opinion surveys related to cross-strait issues in 2008, a large increase compared to the number in 2007.

The MAC indicated that, public opinion surveys conducted since May 20 last year reflect the public’s perception that cross-strait relations have warmed markedly and that the situation in the Taiwan Strait has eased since that time. The percentage of people holding an optimistic view of the future development of cross-strait relations is far higher than the percentage holding a negative view. The percentage of those satisfied with overall Mainland policy was also higher than the percentage of those dissatisfied, while the overwhelming majority express approval for the efforts of the government to improve cross-strait relations.

The MAC further indicated that the majority of the public hold a positive view of the government's large-scale easing of economic and trade restrictions and promotion of measures to open up cross-strait economic and trade relations. Public opinion surveys also show that the public has high expectations of the government's role when it comes to implementing opening-up measures, including expectations that the government should strengthen accompanying management measures, properly perform risk assessment and firmly grasp the pace of opening.

The resumption of negotiations between the SEF and the ARATS was one of the most closely watched issues last year. According to public opinion surveys, over 70 percent of the public support and are satisfied with the resolution of issues stemming from cross-strait exchanges by negotiations through the institutionalized mechanism between the SEF and the ARATS. In addition, the majority of the people express approval for the results of the six agreements signed during the "Chiang-Chen Talks," believe that these results are conducive to Taiwan's economic development, and agree with the government's plan to prioritize economic issues in negotiations.

Regarding the public’s views on the future and position of the country, the MAC indicated that a relatively high percentage (80 percent) of the public have consistently advocated "maintaining the status quo" defined in a broader sense. “Maintaining the status quo” is the greatest common denominator among the Taiwanese people irrespective of political party affiliation or region. In addition, over 75 percent of the people in Taiwan agree with the government's stance of "no unification, no independence and no use of force" and its position on seeking harmonious cross-strait relations while "maintaining the status quo" so as to uphold regional stability and Taiwan's interests.