Fri, Jan 29, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Ma touts 'success' of China policy

RESCUE EFFORTS The president said that because of a diplomatic truce, neither Taipei nor Beijing had taken advantage of the quake to engage in political games

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER , TEGUCIGALPA

The severely damaged Taiwanese embassy in Haiti is pictured yesterday. Acting Taiwanese ambassador to Haiti Chang Tai-fu said on Wednesday that important documents would have to be retrieved from the collapsed ruins of the building.

PHOTO: CNA

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on Tuesday touted his foreign policy, saying that the rescue efforts of Taipei and Beijing in Haiti were a perfect example that his strategy of “diplomatic truce” with Beijing worked.

Ma made the remarks during his dinner with Taiwanese expatriates at his hotel in San Francisco, where he made a one-night stop-over en route to Honduras to attend the inauguration of Honduran president-elect Porfirio Lobo Sosa.

While China was aggressively involved in the rescue operations in Haiti, Ma said neither Taipei nor Beijing took advantage of the occasion to engage in political games and these efforts had received recognition from international media such as as the Washington Post.

“Whenever our diplomatic allies encounter problems, we are ready to help,” he said. “Our help does not go to our diplomatic allies only, but to those who need it.”

Ma told the banquet hosts that he would meet “high-ranking” Haitian officials in the Dominican Republic, where he will deliver aid goods. Ma has brought with him 10 tonnes of relief goods, including medical supplies, milk powder, cookies and canned corn. They will be transported by land from the Dominican Republic to Haiti once they arrive.

Ma had said he hoped to meet Haitian President Rene Preval in the Dominican Republic, but emphasized that he realized Preval was preoccupied with relief efforts and that it would be up to the Haitian president to decide whether he has time to meet.

Ma also commended his cross-strait policy, saying it was proceeding at a fair pace, while some were worried it was going too fast.

“It is not that we want it to be super fast,” he said. “But we are making up for the lost eight years.”

Ma said no progress was made during the eight years before he took office, stalling the country's international competitiveness and undermining Taiwan-US relations.

On the other hand, a lot of effort has been made to improve cross-strait ties and defuse possible tensions in the Taiwan Strait, as well as to enhance relations with the US and other allies since he took office in May 2008, Ma said.

At a separate setting, Paul Chang (張國葆), the director of the Presidential Office's Public Affairs Department, quoted American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt as saying that Washington would not let the controversy over the US beef imports affect relations with Taiwan.

The treatment Ma received during his transits in San Francisco was a good proof, Chang quoted Burghardt as saying in a dinner banquet hosted by Taiwanese expatriates in San Francisco on Tuesday night.

Chang said Taiwan's Air Force C-130 cargo plane was also recently allowed to land on US soil for refill on a transportation mission to Haiti, adding that it was another proof of sound Taiwan-US relations.

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