President makes overture to opposition

By Enru Lin ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — In his New Year’s Day address, President Ma Ying-jeou said he would welcome a national affairs conference as a way to foster cooperation between the ruling and opposition parties. ��I am willing to support any manner of dialogue or cooperation that would help to ease political tensions. I would welcome a national affairs conference of any sort on any issue,�� Ma said yesterday at the Presidential Office’s annual flag-raising ceremony. The statement was a response to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (���^��), who last month called for a national affairs conference after declining Ma’s invitation to a tete-a-tete.

Ma yesterday described a state of intense bipartisan antagonism that has prevented cooperation. ��Improving relations between the two sides may take time, but Taiwan faces too many pressing matters that must be dealt with over the next year and more. There is no more time to waste. Taiwan cannot afford to wait any longer,�� he said. In the message, Ma said that the two political camps must be united for Taiwan to deal with international political and economic conditions including global trade liberalization and regional economic integration. On Youth and Chinese Trade The president’s annual address usually charts directions for the administration in the coming year. This year’s message, titled ��Reconciliation, Cooperation and Peace,�� also focused on youth outreach and the advancement of cross-strait relations. ��This (youth) generation faces tepid economic and wage growth, which stands in stark contrast to the experience of the preceding few generations,�� Ma said. Ma said the administration will respond with policies aimed at reaching wealth parity, expedited tax reform, improvement of social services and an open-data approach to governance that will boost public participation. On cross-strait relations, Ma reiterated his policy of the ��Three Nos�� that maintain the status quo. The ��Three Nos�� are no unification, no independence and no use of force under the framework of the Constitution and the ��1992 Consensus.��