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2008年5月22日 (木)


05/22/2008 --The Asahi Shimbun, May 21(IHT/Asahi: May 22,2008)

EDITORIAL: Taiwan's new president


Citing the principle of "no unification, no independence and no use of force" in his inaugural address on Tuesday, new Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, 57, stressed his intention to maintain the status quo in Taipei's relationship with Beijing.



status quo=現状)

Ma had repeatedly voiced these "three nos" before he kicked off his presidential campaign in March. We imagine he wanted to stress them again in his inaugural address to remove any doubt about his basic China policy.


During the administration of his vocally pro-independence predecessor Chen Shui-bian, China became testy and the bilateral relationship grew cold. But now, China is embracing the return of a Kuomintang administration after an eight-year hiatus. This will apparently have a calming effect on the Taiwan Strait issue.



Ma, expressing his hope that direct weekend charter flights between Taiwan and China will start in July, stated his intention to "launch a new era in cross-strait relations." He is more interested in reinforcing Taiwan's economic ties with China through deregulation of investment in China and other means than prioritizing political issues that could polarize the two sides.



Actually, cross-strait relations have already shown remarkable improvement. In April, Vice President Vincent C. Siew, the No. 2 man of the Ma administration, visited China in his capacity as chairman of the Cross-Strait Common Market Foundation and met with Chinese President Hu Jintao. And Wu Po-hsiung, chairman of the Kuomintang, is scheduled to visit China shortly.


Ma also said he will strengthen bilateral relations with the United States and pointed to his desire to improve Taiwan's defense capability. In other words, he will broaden exchanges with China, but will remain vigilant against forcible unification of Taiwan by China.


Stability in the Taiwan Strait is beneficial to the United States, Japan and other nations in the region. We hope there will be more progress in achieving military detente through Taiwan-China dialogue.



China has bolstered its armed forces and held military drills repeatedly in anticipation of an armed clash with Taiwan. China has more than 1,000 missiles lined up along its Taiwan Strait coast, while Taiwan is developing new weapons in response. It is our hope that something can be done to end this arms race and replace it with strengthened mutual trust.



To stabilize the Taiwan-China relationship, there is still room for improvement on the diplomatic front, too.


The World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) opened earlier this week in Geneva. Taiwan has been anxious to attend this assembly as an observer, but this did not even make it to the assembly's agenda because of China's opposition. The threat of a new strain of influenza and other infectious diseases is a matter that concerns the entire world. China ought to be big enough to relent for humanitarian reasons.



Stronger ties between Taiwan and China could bring major changes to the regional economy in terms of investment and distribution of goods.

Japanese corporations cannot afford not to keep watching the situation closely.


It was pointed out before that Ma was critical of Japan because of the history issue and other matters. More recently, however, he has demonstrated his resolve to build good relations with Japan, as evidenced by his presence at a memorial service for a Japanese engineer who contributed to the improvement of Taiwan's water service during the colonial era.


We hope Japan will strengthen its foreign policy in a way that helps to support a stable relationship between Taiwan and China.


--The Asahi Shimbun, May 21(IHT/Asahi: May 22,2008)

朝日新聞 5月21日号 (英語版 2008年5月22日発行)


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