President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged Beijing to remove the missiles it aims at Taiwan or “take care of them via other means,” saying the missiles gave Taiwanese “a very bad feeling.”
Ma said he had made efforts to reduce tensions across the Taiwan Strait since he took office in May 2008 and had enjoyed some success over the past 19 months.
He recognized, however, that the “mainland authorities” had not reduced the number of missiles aimed at Taiwan despite the recent cross-strait detente.
That number has in fact increased, defense analysts say.
“We have expressed our position on various occasions, hoping the mainland authorities would face up to the situation and remove the missiles or deal with them by other means because they give the Taiwanese people a very bad feeling,” Ma said.
Ma made the remarks in response to a question from Yoshinori Ono, a member of the Japanese House of Representatives, during a meeting at the Presidential Office yesterday afternoon.
Ono said he was personally concerned about China’s military buildup opposite Taiwan and its lack of transparency. He said he wanted to know how Ma viewed the protection of Taiwan in the East Asia region.
Ono urged the administration to strengthen ties with Tokyo to counter “foreign threats.” He said, however, that “many difficulties” needed to be overcome.
Calling Ono “an old friend of Taiwan” and “a half Taiwanese,” Ma said Ono has made tremendous efforts to ensure Taiwan’s security through his close relationship with Taiwan. Ono was born in Taiwan during the Japanese era.
Ma said reconciliation with China ensured Taiwan’s and Japan’s security and cross-strait rapprochement helped improve mutual trust between Japan and the US.
Ma said much progress had been made in relations with Tokyo since he took office, including the opening of a trade and cultural office in Sapporo and the start of direct flights between Taipei International Airport and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport scheduled for this October.
Tokyo had also rectified the nation’s description on its alien resident certificates and other related documents from “China” to “Taiwan,” Ma said. A “working holiday” program for young adults aged between 18 and 30 had gone into effect, he added.
Ma said he would be happy to see the National Palace Museum send exhibits to Japan, but he hoped the Japanese government would amend its laws to ensure the safety of the national treasures.
Museum Director Chou Kung-shin (周功鑫) has said that the museum’s collections are national assets that will only be exhibited in countries that have laws that guarantee their return.