l Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou recently declared that his administration would "cautiously consider" whether Taiwan should sign a peace agreement with China in the coming decade. Ma also identified three preconditions—deemed necessary for Taiwan, strong domestic support, and legislative oversight—which must first be met before commencing political talks with Beijing. These preconditions were clearly designed to avoid giving an impression that cross-Strait political discussions are imminent if Ma gets reelected.
l The president's announcement immediately sent shock waves throughout Taiwan while the impact on the upcoming legislative and presidential elections remained uncertain. Ma’s statement, however, did not represent a fundamental change in his cross-Strait policy where “easy things first, economics before politics” remains unchanged. With less than three months to go before the January 14 vote, it would be politically risky for the Ma campaign if the peace agreement with China was perceived by most as a priority in the president’s second term.
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