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Sat, Feb 10, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Ma Ying-jeou urges US to continue weapons sales

CNA , NEW YORK

The US should continue selling arms to Taiwan because failing to do so would be detrimental to the military balance in the Taiwan Strait, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said Thursday at a symposium on US policy toward China.

Ma delivered the speech at the event in New York, which was organized by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, an influential US think tank.

Ma, a Harvard-trained legal expert, once served as vice chairman of Taiwan's Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council, which charts Taiwan's policy toward China.

He told those attending the symposium that President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had said in his New Year's address that "one China is not a problem under the ROC Constitution." If this line of argument can be developed further, Ma continued, it would be helpful to resolving the current cross-strait stalemate.

From the manner in which Chen has been handling the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant (核四)issue on the home front, one can tell Chen is a flexible political figure who is different from the "dogmatists" within the DPP, Ma said.

Ma urged the symposium participants not to underestimate Chen's ability to handle the complicated issue of cross-strait relations. He added that Taipei and Beijing should resume their dialogue as soon as possible so that the two sides can begin negotiations on establishing direct trade, postal, and transport links with each other.

Before such negotiations are held, however, Ma said that China must ensure that Taiwan's security will not be threatened and that Taiwan's diplomatic efforts in the international arena will not be stifled.

According to the event's organizers, conclusions reached at the symposium will be presented to the new Bush administration for reference. Ma was the only official from either side of the Taiwan Strait to give a speech at the symposium.

Ma was also scheduled to head to Chicago after the symposium to confer with the mayor of Chicago and to inspect that city's garbage disposal facilities, mass rapid transit system, and crime-prevention units.

After his US trip, Ma will visit Hong Kong between Feb. 11 and Feb. 14 where he is slated to meet Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa (董健華) and deliver a keynote speech on Taipei's vision and its bilateral exchanges with Hong Kong.

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