China’s new leader to continue current Taiwan policy: Ma


TAIPEI — President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that China will continue its current policy toward Taiwan under its new leadership, and that it is more important to broaden the existing ties than moving toward building a political relationship.

During a speech delivered in Taipei, Ma said he believes China’s new leader Xi Jinping will follow the policy of his predecessor regarding Taiwan.

Given that cross-strait relations have improved a great deal over the last few years, “there is no reason not to continue that,” he added.

China, however, certainly wants to have more political contact across the Taiwan Strait, Ma said.

But the issue might be considered sensitive in Taiwan, and “at this moment, the most important thing for Taiwan to do is to broaden and deepen the existing relationship,” he said in response to questions on China-Taiwan ties.

For example, Taiwan will try to allow more Chinese visitors to Taiwan, which will contribute to the development of bilateral ties, Ma said. Negotiating with China for establishing offices in each other is also important, he added.

His speech was part of an annual conference held for the participants of an international education program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State who were individuals studying or teaching in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Macau. Meanwhile, Taiwan will build a relationship with China, based on old relations, but with new features, Ma said, adding that this “is more important than the so-called political relationship.”

“If you come to the political relation, you have to face the very difficult question of sovereignty,” he said.

“I think both sides will get more without having to touch some of the difficult issues,” which will not be solved for many years to come, he added.

Asked about a meeting with Xi, Ma said he has not met with him before, and such a meeting will be difficult because of the issue of addressing each other. “I have to be addressed as President Ma, but I think that would be difficult for them,” he said, adding that Taiwan has the same problem as well.

After the civil war in China during the 1940s, the government of the Republic of China retreated to Taiwan in 1949. But the People’s Republic of China, which has been ruled by the Communist Party of China since then, sees Taiwan as part of its territory.