New Taiwan President Makes China Overtures

Ma Ying-jeou seeks closer link between Beijing, Taipei
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2008 6:53 AM CDT
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou gestures while giving an address during his inauguration ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, May 20, 2008.    (AP Photo/Hsu Chao Chang, Pool)
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(Newser) – Since his election as Taiwan's president last March, Ma Ying-jeou has already begun negotiations with Beijing and moved to bring mainland Chinese tourists to the island. In an English-language interview with the New York Times, Ma sets out an ambitious plan for new cross-strait relations: direct links via air and sea, new market reforms, and an end to double taxes.

Ma's Nationalist Party won a landslide victory by promising economic reconciliation with mainland China. The new president has shifted focus on such issues as security or the international status of Taiwan, believing that economic accords can help end those impasses. "I think if we could continue the current talks with them to achieve economic normalization, I’m sure the feeling of a peaceful environment will continue to grow," said Ma. (Read more Taiwan stories.)