Sat, Nov 15, 2008 - Page 3 News List

US-Taiwan relations will remain unchanged: Ma

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

In a recent interview with the US media, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said he expects US-Taiwan relations to remain unchanged under US president-elect Barack Obama’s administration and promised to continue seeking peaceful relations with China.

In the interview with USA Today published on Tuesday, Ma said that the US had established a framework to maintain positive relations with China and Taiwan and his administration’s efforts to improve relations with China would be welcomed by the new US government.

“By improving relations with the mainland, I have created a situation where the United States could maintain relations with both in a relatively easy way,” Ma said in English.

Ma said the visit of Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) last week and the purchase of US$6.4 billion in arms from the US both suggested that his administration’s policies would promote a positive US-Taiwan relationship.

When asked to comment on large-scale protests held against Chen’s visit because of concerns that his administration would sell out the Taiwanese to China, Ma argued that several polls conducted by Taiwanese media outlets suggested that more than 50 percent of Taiwanese welcomed Chen’s visit and the four agreements signed by the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and ARATS, then stressed that he would not sell out Taiwan.

“When we make air transport more convenient, is that a sellout? When we improve the postal service to make special delivery possible, is that a sellout?” he said.

Ma said his administration and China were joining forces to normalize cross-strait relations, but added that “the time has not come” for him to travel to Beijing and meet Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), who Ma described as a “sophisticated leader” with a better understanding of the reality of Taiwan’s position.

Ma reiterated his optimism about the future development of cross-strait relations during his term as president when meeting members of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from the US yesterday.

“The two sides of the Strait are sending more positive messages to each other and seeking to build a consensus. Although our mutual trust remains weak, there has been a great deal of improvement in the past half-year,” Ma said at the Presidential Office.

As cross-strait relations continue to improve, Ma said Taiwan’s relations with the US, Japan and other countries in Asia could be expected to improve as well.

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