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Taiwan's New President Pledges Better Relations with China


Taiwan's newly-inaugurated president has called for a resumption of dialogue with China.

In his inaugural address Tuesday, President Ma Ying-jeou said he would pursue cross-Strait ties and regional stability.

Mr. Ma also called for strengthening security ties with the United States.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the United States looks forward to working with Taiwan's new leaders and maintaining what he called the "vibrancy in our economic and people-to-people relationship."

Washington is Taiwan's leading arms supplier and has pledged to protect the island from Chinese military aggression.

Mr. Ma, who replaces President Chen Shui-bian, is a member of the Nationalist Party, which supports stronger business and transportation ties with China. Since the March election, hopes have run high in Taiwan that Taipei and Beijing may be able to put aside their political differences and boost economic ties.

Taiwan and China split during a civil war in 1949. Beijing regards the self-ruled island as part of its territory and has threatened to use force against the island if it takes any formal steps towards independence.

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