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Cross-strait ties remain a challenge after Taiwan election: official

ROC Central News Agency

2008-03-24 12:51:48

    Washington, March 23 (CNA) There are still numerous challenges ahead in cross-Taiwan Strait relations although the outcome of Taiwan's just-concluded presidential election is a relief to China, Taiwan's representative to the United States said Saturday.

    Making the comment during an interview with CNN, Joseph Wu noted that although Taiwan maintains close economic relations with China, Beijing has continued to suppress Taiwan in the international arena and to intimidate Taiwan with threats of military force.

    Under these circumstances, the new administration, to be led by the Kuomintang's Ma Ying-jeou, will need to work very hard to deal with Taiwan's relations with China and the United States, Wu said.

    Wu said he believes the election of Ma, who is generally considered more liberal in terms of policy toward China, and the failure of the two referendums on Taiwan's bid to join the United Nations will make China feel more at ease. However, in light of Ma's recent criticism of Beijing over its crackdown on protesters in Tibet and its harassment of human rights lawyers, China will need to carefully consider how it is going to interact with Ma's administration, Wu added.

    In terms of Taiwan-U.S. relations, Wu said he thinks Washington will want to give less prominence to the Taiwan issue while the crises in North Korea, Iraq and Iran are still high on its agenda.

    Also, Washington will expect Taiwan to strengthen its capability to defend itself, an issue that the new government will need to pay close attention to, he said.

    According to Wu, the election's outcome indicates that the majority of Taiwan voters hope to see progress in cross-strait relations and in Taiwan-U.S. relations.

    In addition, the peaceful election has marked a step forward in Taiwan's democratic development and has further consolidated the country's democracy, Wu said.

(By Chiehyu Lin and Y.F. Low)

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