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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
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 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 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.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid