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No big changes forecast in Taiwan's diplomatic situation

ROC Central News Agency

2012/01/15 21:44:06

Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) Taiwan's diplomatic situation will remain largely unchanged following President Ma Ying-jeou's victory in Saturday's presidential election, a former Taiwan representative to the U.S. said Sunday.

During Ma's first term in the office, there were many positive developments in Taiwan-U.S. relations, including the U.S. decision to upgrade Taiwan's fleet of F-16 A/B jet fighters and to list Taiwan as a candidate for the U.S. visa waiver program, said Chen Chien-jen.

Ma's Beijing-friendly policy poses few surprises in the U.S.-Taiwan relationship, and Taiwan's relations with its diplomatic allies will likely remain the same, Chen said.

If Ma maintains his current cross-Taiwan Strait policies, Taiwan's relations with China will largely remain the same despite an expected leadership change in mainland China this year, Chen said.

However, Chen said he thinks Beijing will relax its opposition to Taiwan's participation in international activities over the next few years. Taiwan will also have more space to negotiate free trade agreements with other countries, he said.

Meanwhile, Joseph Wu, another former Taiwan representative to the U.S., said Ma's current foreign policy is tilted too much toward China and is off balance with the U.S.

Ma's "diplomatic truce" policy means that cross-strait relations have been given priority over ties with other allies, Wu said.

Safety is a key issue in Taiwan-U.S. relations, Wu said, noting that the U.S. had complained that Taiwan's military budget was too small.

Taiwan's switch to an all-volunteer military service by 2015 means more funds will be allocated for soldiers' pay rather than arms procurement, Wu said.

(By Emannuelle Tseng and Ann Chen)
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