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Ma repeats ‘mutual non-denial’ policy

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President-elect Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday his future government would focus on improving strained cross-strait relations under the principle of "mutual non-denial," while restating that he would consider boycotting the upcoming Beijing Olympics if the crackdown worsened in Tibet.

Further, he told foreign media that he has no plans to visit China in the near future, but aims at working on "substantive issues" first, including pursuing economic cooperation and signing a peace agreement to terminate the current state of hostility between Taipei and Beijing.

Opposition Kuomintang (KMT) standard-bearer Ma defeated Frank Hsieh of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) by over 2 million votes during Saturday's presidential election.

To break the current deadlock across the Taiwan Strait, the new KMT administration will negotiate separate economic and peace agreements with China, he emphasized.

"We will sign a peace agreement with China to terminate the hostility across the Taiwan Strait," he went on, "I will explore the possibility of reaching consensus with China on the issue of our international space, including our bilateral and multilateral relations with other parts of the world."

Also, he indicated that allowing more Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan and local banks to invest in China's financial market were also crucial to improving cross-strait ties.

In addition to opening talks with China, Ma proposed reopening negotiations on signing bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the U.S., Japan and Singapore.

He specifically condemned Chen Shui-bian's government for refusing to sign the deal under the formal name used by Taiwan at the World Trade Organization (WTO) -- The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu, and instead requesting to conclude the agreement under the name "Taiwan."

The previous FTA negotiation failed partly because of Chinese pressure, he explained.

"We are ready to resume negotiations with Singapore under the name we use in the WTO, if that is acceptable to Singapore."

Regarding the failed referendums held alongside the presidential election, he stressed that the government of the Republic of China actually withdrew from the United Nations in 1971, and expressed his willingness to be flexible on which title to use in apply to regain membership in the international body.

Entering the U.N. under the name of Taiwan was "tantamount to a disaster," he said.

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 Ma repeats ‘mutual non-denial’ policy 
President-elect Ma Ying-jeou, left, and Vice President-elect Vincent Siew of the opposition Kuomintang pledge to improve relations with China, starting with direct flights, opening the island to more Chinese tourists and allowing local financial institutions to invest in the mainland, during an event held yesterday in Taipei one day after their election victory. (AP)

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