Ma Ying-jeou pleased with trip to India, Singapore

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: The KMT presidential candidate was guarded on a meeting he had with Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sat, Jun 16, 2007 - Page 3

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that he was satisfied with his four-day visit to India and Singapore.

Ma returned to Taiwan last night.

Prior to his departure for Taipei from Singapore's Changi airport yesterday, Ma said that he had clearly conveyed his policy initiatives on relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to the governments in both New Delhi and Singapore.

He added that he had gained an Indian promise to strengthen scientific and economic cooperation with Taiwan.

Focusing most of his trips on discussing economic issues with major information technology industry associations in the two countries, Ma said he will focus his presidential campaign on the economy to improve people's lives.

Ma also criticized his Democratic Progressive Party counterpart Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) for manipulating the issue of national identity.

After a closed-door meeting with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀) on Wednesday to discuss cross-strait issues, Ma defended his "mutual non-denial" policy, which he brought up in India on Wednesday.

He said the KMT would continue to support the idea of each side of the Strait having its own interpretation of "one China."

He said that as long as China and Taiwan could reach the status of what he termed as "mutual non-denial," they would spontaneously refer back to the so-called "1992 consensus."

Ma shrugged off President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) criticism of his proposal as "naive."

"President Chen will criticize whatever concepts I proposed. But the truth is the government's policies only make people suffer," Ma said yesterday in Singapore.

Ma had declined to confirm his meeting with the two Singaporean leaders, but Lee Kuan Yew later confirmed discussing cross-strait issues and Ma's new "mutual non-denial" proposal in the meeting.

Lee Kuan Yew said that his country would continue to stick to the "one China" policy and oppose Taiwanese independence.

In response to Lee Kuan Yew's openness about the closed-door meeting, Ma said that he was surprised by Lee's move, but he respected the decision.

"Lee Kuan Yew told me that he supported my policy of maintaining the status quo and not pursuing Taiwanese independence," Ma said.