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May 26, 2017

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Ma hints at a cross-party summit; DPP uninterested

TAIPEI -- President Ma Ying-jeou said Monday that cooperation between political parties remains his "sincere hope" and that he has never ruled out a meeting with the leader of the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

At a press conference, Ma was asked whether there should be a meeting between him as chairman of the ruling Kuomintang and DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen.

"I've never ruled it out," Ma said.

Tsai is an expert in economics and should know Taiwan's economic situation better than he does, and must have her own opinion on the way forward, the president said.

A meeting could take time and preparation, but he said that "it is my sincere hope that the government and the opposition can work together so that we can be strong enough to cut through even the toughest of barriers."

The DPP, however, immediately shot down the idea of holding talks between the party leaders.

Hsu Chia-ching, a DPP spokeswoman, said that Ma has mentioned it so many times that the talk about such a meeting no longer merits a response.

There have been calls for the government and the opposition to act more responsibly and to work together to move the country in a positive direction, but when Ma and Tsai's predecessor Su Tseng-chang had a rare face-to-face meeting, their televised talks degenerated into something many observers described as nothing more than a quarrel.

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