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New President pledges support for Taiwan’s allies

New President pledges support for Taiwan’s allies


by Kenton Chance 23.MAY.08

TAIPEI, Taiwan: Newly inaugurated president Ma Ying-Jeou pledged support for Taiwan’s allies, saying that both China and Taiwan can contribute internationally without engaging in vicious competition.{{more}}

In his inauguration speech as the 12th President of Taiwan on Tuesday, Ma said Taiwan “will continue to cherish its diplomatic allies and honor its commitments to them.”

“Taiwan has to be a respectable member of the global village,” he said, adding that his administration “will expand cooperation with like-minded countries”.

Ma’s statements came even as Taiwan’s diplomatic allies dwindled to 24 nations, including the Caribbean states of Haiti, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

He said, “Dignity, autonomy, pragmatism and flexibility should be Taiwan’s guiding principles when developing foreign relations.”

Ma of the Kuomintang received 58% of the votes cast in the March 22 presidential elections, defeating Frank Hsieh of the incumbent Democratic Progressive Party whose Chen Shui-bian was Taiwan’s president for the past eight year.

Chen could not contest the elections, having served two terms.

And, shortly after Chen handed over the presidency Tuesday morning, the Supreme Prosecutors Office declared him a defendant in their investigation into his handling of his “state affairs fund”.

Ma said the country will accept its responsibilities in promoting free trade, nonproliferation, anti-global warming measures, counter-terrorism, humanitarian aid, and other global commons.

He took office amidst much public support in Taiwan and even as China on Monday teamed up with Pakistan to block Taiwan’s 12th attempt to join the World Health Assembly.

China and Taiwan split amidst civil war in 1949 and China claims Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunited with the “mainland”

Ma hoped that both nations would try to achieve peace and co-prosperity under the principle of his proposed “no unification, no independence and no use of force”.

In 1992, the two sides reached a consensus on “one China, respective interpretations”.

“Taiwan doesn’t just want security and prosperity. It wants dignity. Only when Taiwan is no longer being isolated in the international arena can cross-strait relations move forward with confidence,” Ma said.

He added: “We should help and respect each other in international organizations and activities. In light of our common Chinese heritage, people on both sides should do their utmost to jointly contribute to the international community without engaging in vicious competition and the waste of resources. I firmly believe that Taiwan and mainland China are open minded enough to find a way to attain peace and co-prosperity.”