Tue, May 20, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Ma prepares for inauguration

‘THIN ICE’ Ma described his feeling yesterday as ‘treading on thin ice and standing on the edge of an abyss’ on the eve of his inauguration as president

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA

Flanked by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung, right, incoming president Ma Ying-jeou, second right, yesterday says goodbye to staffers at KMT headquarters in Taipei as he prepared to move in to the Presidential Office.

PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Incoming president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will be sworn in today, bringing an end to the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) eight years in office and ushering in a new era.

Ma’s inauguration will also mark the nation’s second transition of power.

Ma yesterday described his frame of mind on the eve of his inauguration as like “treading on thin ice and standing upon the edge of an abyss.” Ma said he would remain vigilant and alert after taking the helm.

Ma made the remarks to the media before meeting a delegation from the US Committee of 100 — a national organization of Chinese American leaders — which traveled to Taiwan to attend Ma’s inauguration.

While speaking to members of the delegation at KMT headquarters, Ma was quoted as saying his decisive election win on March 22 was not a personal victory.

Spokesman-designate of the Presidential Office Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said after the meeting that Ma believed his victory in the presidential election represented a new opportunity for cross-strait relations.

“It represents a new opportunity for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to treat each other more openly and engage in more active exchanges now that a new KMT administration has replaced the DPP government,” Wang said.

As Ma will be sworn in today, whether he will deliver messages similar to Chen’s four noes pledge had attracted media attention. However, Ma yesterday remained tight-lipped regarding the message he would send toward China through his inauguration speech.

A story published in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) yesterday quoted an anonymous senior KMT official as saying that the KMT had told China that Ma would “express goodwill” to Beijing through his inauguration address.

The source was quoted as saying that China had expressed concerns about the content of the speech during the KMT’s negotiation with Beijing regarding KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung’s (吳伯雄) planned visit to China next week.

Wang said yesterday that Ma told John Fugh, chairman of the Committee of 100, and other committee members that with closer relations between Taiwan and China, mutual understanding between people from the two sides of the Taiwan Strait would increase.

Examples of a more relaxed cross-strait relationship are expected to begin in July, Wang reported Ma as saying.

The Liberty Times has learned that in Ma’s inaugural speech today, he is likely to urge Beijing to resume bilateral negotiations under the “1992 consensus,” and propose reconciliation and detente.

Ma’s speech is expected to emphasize that the cross-strait status quo must be maintained under the constitutional framework of the Republic of China.

Ma is expected to reiterate his proposal of “no unification, no independence, no military force.”

On the diplomatic front, it is thought Ma will emphasize the importance of ties with Taiwan’s diplomatic allies.

Additional reporting by staff writer

Also See: Police out in force for ceremony

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