Sun, Nov 30, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Ma confident in economy, makes case for harmony

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday expressed his confidence in the country’s ability to survive the financial crisis and urged Taiwanese to transcend their differences while working together to overcome the difficulties.

“I know that people are suffering from the slow economy, but Taiwan will remain a promising place as long as Taiwanese don’t give up,” Ma said while addressing the 2008 National Prayer Breakfast in Taiwan at the Taipei International Convention Center.

“With the wisdom and fighting spirit of its people, I believe the country will survive the financial crisis,” he said.

Speaking about social change and the transformation of the country, Ma referred to the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American US president and called on Taiwanese to coexist.

“We can be different and still get along harmoniously,” he said.

Ma promised to answer people’s expectations by establishing a clean government and pushing for a peaceful cross-strait relationship.

Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who declined Ma’s invitation for a meeting to discuss national issues and confrontations between the blue and green camps, also attended the event.

Although Ma shook hands with Tsai immediately after arriving at the event, the two, who were at the same table, did not exchange words.

Ma and Tsai declined to comment on whether they would hold a meeting.

Addressing the opening ceremony of IT Month at the Taipei World Trade Center later yesterday, Ma said he was confident in the country’s economic outlook, adding that the government is determined to overcome the financial crisis.

Referring to publications such as Business Week and The Economist, Ma said that Taiwan continued to be very competitive globally in the IT industry and called on the public to have faith in the country’s economic strength.

“We have no reason to be pessimistic,” Ma said.

“In these difficult economic times, we must complete the necessary reforms [so that we can] rise when the economy recovers,” he said.

The president defended the Cabinet’s policies to issue consumer vouchers and subsidize unemployed citizens, and vowed to lead the country out of the financial crisis with “speedy, substantial and sustainable” policies.

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