President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) responded positively yesterday to former premier Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) recent visit to China, stressing the need for different political parties to interact with China.
“It is necessary for political parties to have interactions with the mainland, and we are happy to see that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is developing similar views on cross-strait relations. Any DPP figure’s visit to the mainland would send a positive message to cross-strait development,” he said.
Ma made the comments when presiding over the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Standing Committee yesterday, as some committee members called for the party to pay more attention to Hsieh’s trip.
Ma, who also serves as the KMT chairman, reiterated his pledge that his administration would continue its efforts to expand interaction across the Taiwan Strait on the basis of the so-called “1992 consensus,” and push for both sides to set up offices in one another’s territory to serve the needs of businesses, students and the general public.
“An average of 7 million people visited the mainland every year, and there have been more Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan, too,” the president said.
“Both sides need offices to handle cross-strait affairs, and it is a natural development to set up offices in the two sides,” he said.
Ma also vowed to deepen cross-strait exchanges by allowing more Chinese students to study in Taiwan.
The number of Chinese students studying in Taiwan, including full-time and exchange students, reached 14,000 this year.
The Ministry of Education will review its policy and relax regulations to attract more Chinese students, he said.
During his second and final term, Ma said the government will also continue the cross-strait negotiations on the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement and complete the signing of more economic agreements.