Ma, Wang play nice on Double Tenth holiday

By Adam Tyrsett Kuo ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — President Ma Ying-jeou and Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday shook hands several times in public at the National Day ceremony despite their recent political spat. Wang spent more than half the duration of his speech lauding the president over the administration’s performance. The speaker also wished the president good health, while the president referred to the former as “Speaker Wang of our Legislative Yuan.” Ma and Wang also exchanged pleasantries away from cameras inside the Presidential Office, speaking about the National Day celebrations, the weather and exercising, said Presidential Office spokeswoman Garfie Li (李佳霏). Due to the recent controversies, the two have not been seen together in public for more than a month, sparking public speculation over what sort of interaction the two might share at the celebrations. As chief organizer of the ceremony, Wang stepped into the Presidential Office to greet the president and first lady. Li said that the president, the first lady and the speaker spent five minutes in the reception room, and that the atmosphere was pleasant. Li added that the president stepped forward to shake the speaker’s hand, welcoming him to the Presidential Office. Ma thanked Wang for being the chief organizer of yesterday’s event and congratulated him on a job well done, according to Li. The president noted the fair weather, to which Wang responded that the bright sun complimented the joyous atmosphere of the ceremony, Li added. The spokeswoman said that the president and the first lady asked the speaker about his exercising habits after having seen a TV interview with the speaker that day in which the speaker fielded questions after going on a hike. Wang said that he usually hikes on a trail near Shih Chien University, and that since he rarely has time to exercise, he took yesterday’s opportunity to go outdoors for a walk, Li said. When asked if Wang would be invited back to Presidential Office meetings, Li said that so far there are no plans to alter the current format of the meetings.

National Day Address In his National Day address, Ma asked the people of the nation if they wanted a society of tolerance and rationality or one of confrontation and distrust. The president also asked whether the nation preferred stability or tension across the strait, and whether the nation wanted to face liberalization head-on or hide under the umbrella of protectionism. In accordance with constitutionalism, human rights are to be protected and the rule of law is to be carried out, while judicial independence and integrity are to be ensured, the president said. Ma said that as the head of state, his first and foremost task is to uphold the constitution. Addressing protesters at yesterday’s event, the president said that a civil society should maintain the values of diversity and tolerance, as well as a culture of rational political participation. Through communication, the public and the government can work together to ensure development and reform, as well as maintain healthy competition between the ruling and opposition parties, Ma said. The president ended his speech with “Long live freedom and democracy! Long live the Republic of China!” Wang was seen shouting along with the president with his hands held high.