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1992 consensus effective in terms of int'l affairs: Ma

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that both sides of the strait have developed an effective though perhaps not entirely satisfactory way of dealing with each other's international relations.

The president recently embarked on a diplomatic tour, attending Panama President Juan Carlos Varela's inauguration on July 1, later visiting El Salvador.

The advantage of the 1992 consensus — one China with different interpretations — is that it allows both sides to shelve disputes while maintaining their own stances, Ma said.

Mainland China has official diplomatic relations with more than 170 nations across the globe, whereas the Republic of China only has 22 diplomatic allies; however, this does not affect the R.O.C.'s de facto ties with the world's major powers, such as the U.S., with which the R.O.C. has trade relations and cooperates in defense-related matters.

Although Taiwan does not have official relations with the U.S., the two countries cooperate in various fields; similarly, mainland China has a representative office for trade purposes in Panama, which is an R.O.C. ally, Ma said.

Speaking about the delay in the Panama Canal expansion, Ma said that Taiwan will be affected.

The U.S. is Taiwan's third largest trading partner, and Taiwan is considering buying shale gas from the U.S., Ma said, explaining that in order to ship the gas to Taiwan, it has to be liquefied first and then it needs to pass through the Panama Canal in order to get to Taiwan.

When asked for figures, Ma said that the administration is still talking with the U.S.

In response to a reporter who said that the R.O.C. has always wanted to “become” a sovereign nation, Ma said that he knew the reporter was trying to ask whether or not the R.O.C. needed to declare independence.

This is completely unnecessary, because since the R.O.C. was founded in 1912, it has always been a sovereign nation, Ma said, adding that sovereign nations don't need to declare independence twice.

Speaking about possible collaborations with Panama's new administration, Ma said that he and the newly inaugurated president both agreed to strengthen cooperation in several areas.

The Panamanian president said that his administration hopes to expand its mass transit system, Ma said, adding that in the area of mass transit, Taiwan has two decades of experience, and in terms of reliability, Taiwan's metro has consistently placed high in the rankings.

Traveling on Taiwan's metro is inexpensive, convenient, and it is a very effective means of transportation, Ma said.

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