Mon, Oct 27, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Ma vows to listen to ‘voice of the people’

NO TIME FOR TSAI The embattled president had nothing to say about an invitation DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen extended to hold a debate on his cross-strait policies

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday he would listen to the voice of the people and respond to their criticism, but maintained that the main direction of his government polices remained the correct one.

During a visit to a temple in Keelung City yesterday morning, Ma said that he “grew up by eating Taiwanese rice and drinking Taiwanese water” and that he would work for the interests of Taiwanese.

“I am the president and was elected by the Taiwanese people. Of course, all my platforms put the interest of the Taiwanese people first,” he said. “The most important among them all is to pursue peace in the Taiwan Strait. We don’t want to see war in the Taiwan Strait.”

Commenting on the global financial crisis, Ma said Taiwan had experience in dealing with two oil crises and the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. While many financial institutions encountered difficulties elsewhere in the world, Ma said Taiwan had not seen a run on any of its banks before his government offered assistance.

“This reflects depositors’ confidence in the government,” he said. “Taiwan will prevail if we work together and face the challenges fair and square.”

Ma, however, did not respond to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) invitation for a debate on Taiwan’s sovereignty and his cross-strait policies.

Tsai extended the invitation during a demonstration organized by the DPP and other pro-localization groups in Taipei on Saturday.

The demonstration, organized to oppose inferior Chinese products and protect Taiwan’s sovereignty, criticized Ma and his administration, which protesters said have denigrated national sovereignty and been incompetent in dealing with economic problems.

Responding to accusations by Ma on Friday that the DPP was manipulating the sovereignty issue, Tsai told Central News Agency that Ma was too “opaque” in his handling of cross-strait issues.

“If the people did not actually feel it [the threat], it would not be possible [for the DPP] to manipulate the sovereignty issue,” Tsai said.

In response to Ma’s criticism that she had failed to accomplish the opening of the so-called “three-links” during her tenure as chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council from 2000 to 2004, Tsai said that while in power the DPP had never done anything that could harm Taiwan’s sovereignty.

She said the DPP never accepted the “one China” principle and the so-called “1992 Consensus,” an understanding allegedly reached in 1992 between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait that there is only one China, with each side having different interpretations.

Tsai said the DPP managed to stabilize cross-strait relations during its eight years in power, with the condition that Taiwan’s sovereignty never be compromised.

Also See: EDITORIAL: Listen when the people speak

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