Mainland relations stable if current policies upheld: Ma

Mainland relations stable if current policies upheld: Ma
PHOTO: AFP

President Ma Ying-jeou stated that relations between Taiwan and China from 2016 will not be problematic so long as whichever party or candidate comes to power adheres to his vision of cross-strait relations, in remarks made yesterday in the Dominican Republic. Ma is currently visiting Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central America and the Caribbean.

While fielding questions from international reporters, Ma said that it was the first time he felt that journalists outside Taiwan "were paying attention to the political development of the R.O.C." While answering a question from a CNN correspondent on the predicted effects of a successor that does not adhere to his policies on China, Ma replied that he "does not want to fathom (the outcome)."

Ma, while speaking to Taiwanese citizens based in the Dominican Republic capital of Santo Domingo, argued that Taiwan's international space had increased during his administration, touting his policies to reduce tensions with rival China. The policy framework included principles oft-cited by the outgoing president's administration, including the "1992 Consensus" and basing cross-strait ties on the "foundation of 'one China with different interpretations.'" Both Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and likely Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate and Deputy Legislative Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu have announced policies that in some way adhere to the current state of relations between the traditional rivals.

"Most importantly, we have developed a set of strategies to address these problems and to solve them," the president said.

He added that the resonance of "such few words" was the result of policies addressing "the core of the problem." Ma added that policies mentioned above had played the key role in gaining the trust of the United States, with the president saying that these opinions were reflected by top scholars who he met while stopping over in Boston at the start of his current, and likely final, diplomatic tour as president.

The president said that quarrels between Taiwan and China would lead to attrition on both sides, and that he hoped that in the process of maintaining current policies "the greatest advantage to the Taiwanese people" could be defended.

Ma has been shoring up his legacy toward the end of his eight-year tenure as president, which has largely centred on improving both economic and political relations with Taiwan's largest trading partner and greatest military threat, China. Under his term, Taiwan and China have concluded over 20 agreements including a trade pact to lower tariffs on select items. Efforts to push the liberalization of trade in services have, however, been met with resistance and subsequent delays after students occupied parliament in 2014 in protest.

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