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President reiterates Taiwan-China 'special' ties

ROC Central News Agency

2013/10/17 17:42:39

Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Thursday that the relationship between Taiwan and China is not an international one but a 'special' one, citing the Republic of China Constitution, which defines the ROC as one sovereign country of which mainland China is a part.

One example of this special relationship can be seen in the description of flights between Taiwan and China as 'cross-strait' rather than 'international' or 'domestic,' Ma said while meeting with U.S. officials in Taipei.

He made the remarks after drawing opposition critisicm for saying 'cross-Taiwan Strait relations are not international relations' in his Oct. 10 National Day address.

Critics claim that such a characterization indicates an ultimate goal of unification between the two sides and represents a concession to Beijing.

When receiving a delegation led by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. Ma clarified by adding the characterization of 'special' while continuing to describe the cross-strait relationship as 'not international.'

This special relationship provides opportunities for faster- warming ties that are bringing people on both sides benefits not enjoyed in the past, Ma told the delegation.

The president said his administration has been working along the lines of reconciliation and cooperation with China since he took office in 2008. This policy line has yielded substantial progress in collaboration on fronts as varied as tourism, medicine, economy and crime-fighting, he said.

Ma addressed the importance of ties with the U.S amid the improving relations with China, highlighting the role the U.S. plays in Taiwan's defenses.

Even though cross-strait ties are at their best in 60 years, Taiwan still needs strong defense capabilities to protect its people, which makes cooperation with the U.S. on security a key part of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship, Ma said.

Taiwan has purchased arms worth US$18.3 billion from the U.S. since 2008, including a batch of 12 P-3C submarine-hunting aircraft that started being delivered in late September.

Taiwan and China have been governed separately since they split amid a civil war in 1949.

(By Kelven Huang and Scully Hsiao)

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