Thu, Dec 29, 2011 - Page 3 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: Politics behind tourism rise: Ma

SALESMAN:At the ruling party’s Central Standing Committee, the president said Taiwan has welcomed more foreign visitors as a result of warmer cross-strait ties

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou holds a bunch of leeks as he meets a vendor at a market in Greater Taichung yesterday.

Photo: CNA

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday promoted his cross-strait policies and attributed the increase of foreign visitors to what he called “politically correct” policies under his administration.

Applauding the record number of tourists to Taiwan this year — which reached 6 million yesterday — Ma, who is seeking re-election with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), said the government’s efforts to maintain national security while improving cross-strait ties played a key role in boosting tourism.

“The most important factor behind the increase of foreign visitors is that we take national security issues seriously and have eased tensions across the Taiwan Strait and our efforts are recognized by the international community,” he said yesterday while presiding over the KMT’s Central Standing Committee meeting in Taoyuan County.

Ma lashed out at the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for failing to carry out its promise to double the number of foreign visitors to 5 million when it was in power and called on voters to support his administration as an experienced team that would bring Taiwan more opportunities.

“The number of foreign visitors increased from 3.7 million to 6 million and Chinese visitors only accounted for 30 percent. That’s because we’re politically correct and we’ve successfully lured more investment in the tourism industry with an open environment,” he said.

As DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) reiterated her plan to form a “Taiwan consensus” if elected, Ma defended his “three noes” policies — no unification, no independence and no use of force — as the main principle for cross-strait developments.

“The US and other nations applauded the systematization of cross-strait negotiation and achievements, including the US’ listing of Taiwan as a candidate for its visa-waiver program, proved that our policies have opened the door for Taiwan to more international participation,” he said.

Ahead of the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections, Ma urged full effort from KMT members in the campaign and expressed his confidence his party would secure victories in the elections.

“The whole party should spare no effort in fighting for victory. I believe that the victory will be ours if we work hard enough,” he said.

Earlier yesterday, Ma accompanied KMT legislative candidates to local markets in Greater Taichung, attracting crowds as he shook hands with vendors and supporters.

He later traveled to Miaoli as his four-day “home-stay” trip continued. He spent last night at the home of a local borough chief as part of efforts to consolidate support in Hakka constituencies, and was scheduled to canvass the streets of Miaoli City this morning.

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