Ma Ying-jeou - Political Positions - View On Cross-strait Relations

View On Cross-strait Relations

After his success in the presidential election, Ma Ying-jeou said he had no immediate plans to visit mainland China and would work to fulfill his campaign pledge to improve relations with mainland China, starting direct charter flights, allowing mainland Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan and lifting the ROC's legislative restrictions on the financial sector to invest in mainland China.

Since then, Ma Ying-jeou has repeatedly mentioned the "1992 Consensus" as the existing basis for constructive dialogue and exchange between Mainland China and Taiwan. On 12 April 2008, then Vice-President-elect Vincent Siew formally met with Hu Jintao at the Boao Forum in Hainan, China.

On September 2, 2008, Ma declared that the relations between Taiwan and mainland China were "special", but "not between two states", meaning that they are relations based on two areas of one state. Taiwan considers that state as the Republic of China, while mainland China considers that state as the People's Republic of China. While the governing authorities on mainland China and Taiwan cannot recognise each other as a legitimate government due to legal and constitutional reasons, Ma seeks that they would refrain from denying the other side being the de facto governing authority of one area of the state. On October 18, 2008, Ma said he hoped that a cross-strait peace accord could be reached during his term in office.

Ma has received criticism from the DPP, the opposition party, for praising the PRC on human rights, especially during the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Protests. Departing from his usual critical view of the mainland China's handling of the 1989 protests, Ma made a statement praising the PRC for its recent improvements in human rights. That same day, he also asked the PRC government to face its history directly and honestly.

Within a week of his remarks on Tiananmen, Ma voiced support for the acceptance of Simplified Chinese for written text and the continued use of Traditional Chinese for printed text. Ma had to clarify his remarks regarding simplified characters at in a 15-minute speech before the sixth International Conference on Internet Chinese Education on June 19, 2009. Ma reiterated his policy of urging the Chinese to learn the traditional system; his previous call was for the ability of Taiwan's population to recognize simplified characters and not for simplified characters to supplant the traditional system in Taiwan.

In 2009, Ma spoke at a leadership conference in Taipei and called for peace with Beijing and for Taiwan's greater participation in international affairs. He said: "The Chinese civil war of the 1940s must never happen again. Peace never comes easily, because over 1,000 missiles deployed by Beijing are still aimed at Taiwan."

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