Cross-strait relations over the past four years have gone from “bankrupt” to being an “asset” and have entered a new phase of goodwill that stand in contrast to the viciousness of past relations, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said at a ceremony yesterday.
Taiwan needs time to speak with its diplomatic allies and enlist their help in entering international organizations, Ma told a workshop for staff involved in international and compatriot affairs.
“Four years ago, I said that if Taiwan was totally isolated internationally, the development of cross-strait ties would cease,” Ma said, adding that at the time, he had also said the cutthroat diplomatic competition between Taiwan and China had to change.
Ma said that his goal during the past four years has been to make cross-strait relations and asset — from the standpoint of foreign relations — and transform them from a vicious circle fed by a “bankruptcy of faith” between the two countries into a benign relationship.
In the past four years, 18 accords have been signed between the governments on either side of the Taiwan Strait, with both hoping to lay aside points of conflict and work on the issues that they can see eye-to-eye on in the hope of achieving a solution that is mutually beneficial, Ma said.
“We have seen less international disputes between Taiwan and China over the past four years, and Taiwan now has more leeway in terms of participating in international organizations and relations,” Ma said.
It has been proven that Taiwan can peacefully resolve the conflict across the Strait and have reasoned negotiations instead of the stand-off that once existed, Ma said, adding that he hoped all those at the ceremony would pay attention to the development of cross-strait relations and contribute to the cooperation and rationality that now characterizes ties with China.
Beijing is also cognizant of the fact that if relations are to progress in a stable manner, both sides of the Strait cannot fight about international issues, and this is one of the reasons why Taiwan has been able to join some international organizations that it had previously been barred from, Ma said, citing as an example the World Health Association (WHA), the WHO’s decisionmaking body, in which Taiwan was granted observer status in 2009.
However, that is not to say the small steps Taiwan has taken on the international stage will stop it from seeking more, Ma said.