Thu, Dec 12, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan must join regional economic integration: Ma

FUTURE PROSPERITY:Ma lauded his administration’s work on US ties and signing of pacts with Singapore and New Zealand, but said closer integration is needed

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday stressed the importance of the country’s efforts to join Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and seek closer economic interaction with major trade partners during a meeting with American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt in Taipei.

The signing of economic cooperation pacts with New Zealand in July and with Singapore last month are significant developments, since both countries are members of the TPP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), he said.

“These agreements have created good conditions for us to participate in regional economic integration in the future,” Ma said.

Joining the TPP and other regional economic entities has been a top priority for the Ma administration, along with seeking closer economic ties with China. The nation’s chances of joining the TPP and RCEP were also on the agenda of a separate closed-door meeting between the president and top officials last night.

Ma called the meeting with Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and top financial officials to review the government’s performance in carrying out its economic policies.

He lauded what he said were several major developments in Taiwan-US relations achieved since August, including a trip to the US by a business delegation led by former Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) last month.

A platform for CEOs should be set up between Taiwan and the US to further promote such business exchanges, he said.

As for cross-strait relations, the president reiterated his call for negotiations on China’s announcement of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea to resolve territorial disputes.

“We reiterated the Republic of China’s sovereignty over the Diaoyutais [馬英九] immediately [following China’s move.] We’ve also told China that setting up an ADIZ over the East China Sea is not helpful for the further development of cross-strait relations,” Ma said.

Taiwan’s ADIZ covered a larger area before 2004, when the former Democratic Progressive Party government scaled it down, he said, defending his administration’s efforts to protect the nation’s territory.

China announced its new zone on Nov. 23, sparking concerns from neighboring countries. The Ma administration has since reiterated the president’s East China Sea peace initiative, calling on all concerned parties to resolve disputes through peaceful negotiations.

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