Ma touts 'peace dividends' with mainland at New Year's event
CNATAIPEI--President Ma Ying-jeou touted the peace dividends stemming from China — benefits resulting from peace across the Taiwan Strait — at a social gathering of Taiwanese businessmen working in China yesterday.
February 19, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
Noting that the image of Mao Zedong, the founder of the People's Republic of China, was now seen in almost every advertisement released by Taiwanese banks soliciting local residents' business for setting up accounts for Chinese currency deposits, the president said it was in sharp contrast with his childhood, when Taiwanese authorities had vowed to eliminate Mao and reclaim the Chinese mainland with force.
Both sides of the strait had come a long way in discarding their hostilities and reaching out to each other, said the president, whose administration has gone out its way to seek reconciliation with Beijing.
Speaking at the event organized by the Straits Exchange Foundation for Taiwanese businessmen working in China to celebrate the Lunar New Year, the president said his administration was working to cement ties with China, exchange office through the Straits Exchange Foundation and Beijing's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, and revamp Taiwanese laws governing relations between people on both sides of the strait.
The president, who took office in 2008 and was re-elected in 2012, said his policy to seek reconciliation with China had created 150,000 jobs on the island, and attracted NT$900 million (US$30 million) in Chinese investment over the last five years.
Furthermore, Ma said his administration was going to allow more Chinese students, including Chinese college graduates who wanted to pursue university degrees, to study in Taiwan.
“Allow young people on both sides to know each other more in a free situation will pave the way for long-term peace between Taiwan and China,” Ma said.
He added that his administration, especially the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Straits Exchange Foundation, understood thoroughly the problems facing Taiwanese businessmen in China and would spare no effort to protect their interests.
Having already signed 18 agreements with China, Ma said his administration was in a stronger than ever position to protect them.
Meanwhile, Wang Yu-chi, the chief of the Mainland Affairs Council, said during the same event that Taipei planned on consulting Beijing soon over a timeline for negotiations relating to the exchange of offices between Straits Exchange Foundation and its Chinese counterpart.