Tue, Jul 24, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Cross-strait trade pact is what US wants, Ma says

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday blasted his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) counterpart Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) for criticizing his cross-strait common market policy.

"The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei has repeatedly accused our government of failing to normalize our economic relations with China," Ma said in Taichung yesterday, adding that the common market policy was the first step in this direction.

Ma was approached by reporters for comment on Hsieh's criticism of the cross-strait common market concept being advocated by Ma and his running mate, Vincent Siew (蕭萬長).

In a speech at a rally in New York with Taiwanese expatriates from the greater New York area on Saturday, Hsieh called Ma's idea of establishing a common market between Taiwan and China "ridiculously unrealistic."

Hsieh said he firmly opposed Ma's cross-strait common market mechanism, adding that if it were to be implemented, human traffickers could more easily smuggle Chinese women, who are frequently smuggled into Taiwan largely to work in the sex trade, into the country.

Hsieh added that the people of Taiwan and the government would face serious problems if workers from China were introduced into the country under a common market system.

Ma said yesterday that "the US has time and again expressed the hope that Taiwan could improve its relations with China. What we propose is the first step toward improving these relations. This policy also conforms with the US' interests."

"The US has said that we need to improve our relations with China if we would like to sign a free trade agreement with the US," he added. "It would be difficult for Mr Hsieh to be the next president if he does not understand this."

Ma also accused the DPP government of "damaging trust between Taipei and Washington."

"The US has been unable to put up with Taiwan. This has all been the DPP's fault," he said.

"The US has reminded or warned President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) 23 times not to adopt a radical approach. This has resulted in a new low in the mutual trust [between the US and Taiwan]," Ma said.

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