President touts cross-strait peace as his crowning achievement
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Jan. 1 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said the peaceful, prosperous and sustainable development of cross-Taiwan Strait relations has successfully turned the strait from a flash point into a peace avenue.
In his New Year message, scheduled to be delivered Friday morning, Ma said since he took office as president in 2008, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have signed 23 agreements, their top cross-strait affairs officials have met seven times, and direct flights across the strait have zoomed from zero to 120 daily.
Mutual trust has been accumulated to such an extent that on Nov. 7 of 2015, Ma said he and his mainland Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping (習近平) were able to meet in Singapore.
He noted that the historic meeting between the top leaders of Taiwan and China was an indication that they had built a communication mechanism to settle disputes peacefully. 'It was a very positive example for the international community,' he added.
It was based on his efforts to build and develop cross-strait ties that Taiwan was able to improve its relations with all foreign countries, including the United States, Japan, the European Union, and ASEAN countries, he said.
Ma said 161 countries now offer visa-free preferential treatment to Republic of China passport holders and Taiwan maintains close ties with its 22 diplomatic allies.
All of this is based on peaceful and stable cross-strait ties, which leads to what he calls 'modus vivendi' diplomacy -- a policy of not engaging the two sides of the strait in a competition of poaching the other's diplomatic allies.
As a result, Taiwan has been able to offer humanitarian aids and promote peace in many parts of the world.
He reminded the people of what Taiwan's diplomacy was like before he assumed office eight years ago: a 'fire setting' diplomacy that saw one after another of Taiwan's diplomatic allies moving their embassies to Beijing and international organizations refusing to allow Taiwan in.
Ma said he was sure his 'modus vivendi' diplomacy was a correct direction for Taiwan if it wants to continue a benevolent cycle formed over the past seven-odd years.
(By Hsieh Chia-chen and S.C. Chang)
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