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Ma unhappy with Taiwan's progress in international affairs

ROC Central News Agency

2012/04/09 22:59:18

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, April 9 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Monday in Burkina Faso that there is still much work to do to narrow differences between Taiwan and China and to remove constraints that prevent Taiwan from participating in international activities.

At a press conference held at his hotel in Ouagadougou, Ma said his government has done its utmost to improve cross-Taiwan Strait relations and elevate Taiwan's position in the international community by building a clean and efficient government and promoting humanitarian diplomacy.

He acknowledged, however, that while some progress has been made, Taiwan and China still have differences over the development of cross-strait ties, and Taiwan still faces many restrictions that keep it from participating in international activities.

"We are not content. We are still continuing to work hard," the president said.

Ma arrived in the West African country Sunday, the first leg of a tour of three African allies that will also take him to the Gambia and Swaziland.

The press conference was the first Ma has held since he left Taiwan for a 12-day visit to Africa on April 7.

Asked about his government's recent move to raise domestic fuel prices by 7 to 11 percent, Ma explained that gasoline and electricity prices should both reflect market costs.

It is neither healthy nor reasonable to spend taxpayer money to subsidize an oil-refiner and a power company as international crude oil prices rise, Ma said, referring to the government's previous policy to keep fuel prices low by subsidizing oil giant CPC Corp., Taiwan to keep prices low at the pump.

Accurately reflecting market costs can also encourage consumers to save energy and lead businesses to invest in the development and production of alternative energy, he added.

Ma said he did not want to promote policies only aimed at pleasing people. He would rather "take the blame now" than be faulted for his policies in the future, he said.

(By Lee Shu-hua and Elizabeth Hsu)

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