News / Asia

Taiwan President Says Political Talks With China Can Wait

FILE - Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou raises his fist after giving a speech during National Day celebrations in front of the presidential office in Taipei.
FILE - Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou raises his fist after giving a speech during National Day celebrations in front of the presidential office in Taipei.
Ralph Jennings
— Taiwan’s president said on Friday that for political talks to take place between the island nation and its old enemy, China, the government must wait for a stronger mandate. President Ma Ying-jeou’s cautious stance follows a recent push by China to discuss sensitive issues with an aim toward eventually reunifying the two sides. China and Taiwan have been separately ruled since 1949, when the leadership of the Kuomintang fled as the Communists emerged victorious from the Chinese civil war.
 
Chinese President Xi Jinping told a Taiwanese delegation at a regional economic meeting last month that the two sides must someday discuss political disputes and not continue to pass them from generation to generation.
 
Analysts saw Beijing’s statement as putting pressure on Taiwan to move toward unification with China after more than five years of trade and investment deals that have helped the island’s economy.
 
President Ma told a news conference for foreign journalists Friday that any political talks must be useful to Taiwan, but that a peace accord can wait.
 
Ma said that Taiwan is not ruling out political dialogue with China, but that any dialogue must be advantageous; Ma also added that he does not see the present as a proper time. He thinks it more helpful to Taiwan’s situation today to go step by step.
 
China has always considered Taiwan a part of its territory, and has threatened to attack Taiwan if peaceful reunification fails.
 
Ma eased hostilities after taking office in 2008 by agreeing to the first-ever talks between Taiwan and China, on economic issues. That dialogue has led to 19 agreements and a new sense of trust between the two sides. China hopes the agreements clear the way to an eventual reunification.
 
Taiwan's president conceded on Friday that the two sides could talk about a political issue if the two sides consider it singularly urgent. The two sides are now talking about the establishment of de facto consulates, he added, and although the content is neutral, the deal itself has a high level of political sensitivity. Ma clarified that his stance is to judge an issue’s urgency and the degree to which it impacts people’s interests.
 
The two sides have never established formal diplomatic contact, leading Taipei in April to push for first-ever representative offices that would handle the massive flow of new business and tourism resulting from other deals. Ma said trade talks are also still on the table, but that a peace accord would need to pass a voter referendum before negotiations could begin.
 
Some experts fear China will back away from signing more agreements that bind Taiwan to its massive economy if the island puts off political issues, but President Ma's approval ratings are hovering around 20 percent; some Taiwanese fault him for getting too close already to its communist neighbor.

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid