President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday expounded on his administration’s achievements in promoting peace across the Taiwan Strait and called for peace and cooperation in East Asia amid escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
“Over the years, the Taiwan Strait and the Korean Peninsula have been considered two flashpoints in East Asia. The Korean Peninsula is now under escalating military tensions, while the Taiwan Strait has become an avenue of peace and prosperity, under peaceful and stable cross-strait relations,” he said in a meeting with a delegation from the US National Bureau of Asian Research, a non-profit institution that focuses on policy in the Asia-Pacific region.
North Korea on Monday announced it was withdrawing all workers and suspending operations at a joint industrial zone with South Korea, and said it would launch a missile today.
Ma yesterday detailed his administration’s efforts to improve cross-strait relations and reduce tensionsin the past five years. He also discussed his proposal last year of an East China Sea peace initiative, which aims to resolve disputes between Taiwan, China and Japan over sovereignty issues regarding the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) by calling for joint development of resources in the area while putting aside territorial disputes.
He also said he expected that Taiwan and the US would strengthen their economic and trade relations, as the two nations are preparing for talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.
On the other hand, he said, Taiwan and China would continue to negotiate follow-up issues under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, amid concerns about the Ma administration possibly moving from economic cross-strait cooperation to political negotiations in the near future.
In an interview with the Chinese-language United Daily News on Monday, Ma dismissed such concerns and insisted that political negotiations are “unnecessary” at the moment. He reiterated that the government would address easier cross-strait issues and develop economic relations with China before entering into political dialogue.