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Taiwan, China had no communication on Ma's Taiping trip: MAC

ROC Central News Agency

2016/01/28 21:18:13

Taipei, Jan. 28 (CNA) Taiwan did not contact China ahead of President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) visit to Taiping Island in the South China Sea, as there was no need to do so, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Thursday.

'We had no reason to contact them (China) over this matter,' MAC Chief Secretary Jeff Yang (楊家駿) said during a press briefing.

The MAC said it had not anything heard from its Beijing counterpart, the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), on the Taiping issue.

The TAO and MAC are the respective government bodies responsible for handling cross-Taiwan Strait affairs.

'It is nothing unusual for the president to visit our own territory and protect our sovereignty,' Yang said.

Earlier in the day, Ma visited Taiping Island for the first time in his eight-year presidency to greet coastguard personnel stationed there, ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

During his visit, Ma unveiled a proposed road map for his South China Sea Peace Initiative, which he had put forward in 2014.

The president also called for cooperation among the countries involved in the territorial disputes in the South China Sea area.

At Thursday's press briefing, Yang also responded to a report in the Taiwan-based China Times that said since Taiwan's presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 16, Beijing had not been answering a hotline that was set up last month between the MAC and TAO.

Yang said both sides have agreed that it would be best not to use the hotline at the moment as the political situation in Taiwan is still in a transition stage.

However, the two sides have been communicating via other channels on issues such as Chinese travelers' transiting through Taiwan and Taiwan's desire to join the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, he said.

(By Yin Chun-chieh and Kay Liu)
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