President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said that the word “caretaker” was not in his dictionary, brushing aside calls to leave important decisions to a new administration, while promising to forge ahead on several regional trade agreements.
Following the elections on Saturday last week, which saw the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) win the presidency and legislature in a landslide, DPP officials have called for Ma’s administration to serve as a caretaker government, deferring important decisions to president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
However, at an economic forum on Asian economic growth at the Grand Hyatt Taipei, Ma said that reviving economic growth and dealing with the slump in exports that followed the European debt crisis were global problems, while finding a new competitive edge for the economy was the inescapable responsibility of any Taiwanese leader.
At a time when the functionality of the WTO is declining and other nations are continually signing bilateral trade deals, Taiwan must follow the trend of the global economy, he said.
Economic integration is a new thing for Asia, he said, citing the conclusion of Trans-Pacific Partnership and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations, along with the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community last month.
While Taiwan wants to participate in each of these agreements, accession is difficult not only economically, but also for many political reasons, he said, promising to continue pushing for the nation to be included over the remainder of his term.
“It is I ‘still’ have four months, not I ‘only’ have four months,” he said, referring to his term’s expiration on May 20.
“My dictionary does not have the words ‘caretaker’ or ‘slacker,’ in it,” he added.
Ma said that a peaceful political environment was a necessary condition of market stability, adding that no one should “rule out” deals with China because such a policy would be not only mistaken, but also potentially fatal for Taiwan.
The president said a peaceful environment was also a precondition for economic growth, adding that the so-called “1992 consensus” had served to make both sides of the Taiwan Strait peaceful and prosperous over the past eight years, a period that saw Taiwan achieve the warmest possible relations with both the US and China.
Cross-strait peace was hard-won and people should learn to treasure and work hard to preserve it, he said, in an apparent jab at Tsai.
The “1992 consensus” refers to a supposed tacit understanding between Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party that there is “one China,” but both sides have different interpretations of what “China” means.
Additional reporting by Abraham Gerber
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South