News / Asia

Taiwan President Pledges Close Ties With China

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou during a news conference after his inauguration ceremony at the Presidential Office in Taipei, May 20, 2012
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou during a news conference after his inauguration ceremony at the Presidential Office in Taipei, May 20, 2012
Ralph Jennings
TAIPEI - Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou began his second term in office on Sunday with a forecast for deeper relations with old rival China. But he said a formal peace accord was not urgent. His comments came amid two days of street demonstrations.
 
The Taiwanese president, who was first elected in 2008 on pledges to ease tension with rising military power China, said he would stick to that course. President Ma Ying-jeou said he expected more deals like the 16 trade, transit and economic agreements that were signed between the two sides over the past four years.
 
But President Ma told a news conference he was in no hurry to sign a formal peace accord with Beijing without popular support. He was criticized after making the suggestion last year.
 
He says Taiwan will handle easy but pressing issues with China before tackling harder ones and consider economic issues ahead of political ones. In that spirit, he says, there is no urgency to discuss a peace accord now with China, and Taiwan’s people must first express a high level of support, including a voter referendum.
 
The 61-year-old president, who won re-election by a slim margin in January, also told reporters on Sunday that the public already endorses the current pace set for improving ties with China. Forty-five percent of Taiwanese people support the current pace, with smaller numbers favoring speeding up or slowing down the process. Ties were frozen, and tensions were high, before 2008.
 
Deals signed with the Asian economic powerhouse just 160 kilometers away are worth billions of dollars to Taiwanese companies. The pacts are also credited with improving Taiwan’s export competitiveness in Asia.
 
Communist China has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s, and has not ruled out the use of military force to maintain that sovereignty. Ma’s Nationalist Party, which once ruled all of China, fled to Taiwan in that decade and re-established a rival government. Beijing has welcomed the talks as it hopes they lead to political dialogue and eventual reunification.
Protesters throw eggs at a portrait of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou during a demonstration in Taipei, May 20, 2012.Protesters throw eggs at a portrait of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou during a demonstration in Taipei, May 20, 2012.
x
Protesters throw eggs at a portrait of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou during a demonstration in Taipei, May 20, 2012.
Protesters throw eggs at a portrait of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou during a demonstration in Taipei, May 20, 2012.

But thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets of Taipei on Saturday and Sunday, tying up traffic as they shouted slogans and blasted air horns. Domestic issues such as the wealth gap dominated their agenda, but some were worried that  Ma’s government has already veered too close to Beijing.
 
Protester Chen Hsien-che, a 50-year-old cosmetics worker from northern Taiwan, says he is concerned that the president’s policies will allow Taiwan to be consumed by the Communist rival.
 
He says Taiwanese people are definitely worried, because they have lived on the island for so long that as a people who cherish peace and love freedom they would not survive the sudden impact of Chinese rule.
 
President Ma said on Sunday he had heard the public’s voice. But his government has said it expects to sign an investment protection guarantee with China this year, helping about a million of the island’s business people. Officials on the island also expect to cut thousands of import tariffs and lower barriers for Chinese investors interested in Taiwanese companies, all before Ma leaves office in 2016.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid