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Taiwan's president-elect plans to rebuildChina tie

Taiwan’s president-elect Ma Ying-jeou pledged during the campaign to improve relations with the communist neighbor.

Associated Press

Taiwan’s president-elect Ma Ying-jeou pledged during the campaign to improve relations with the communist neighbor.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan's president-elect, Ma Ying-jeou, outlined ambitious plans Sunday to revolutionize economic and security relations with China, aiming ultimately for a peace accord ending 59 years of hostility across the Taiwan Strait.

Ebullient after a decisive victory in Saturday's election, Ma predicted he could reach agreement with Beijing on a wide range of delicate issues because, unlike President Chen Shui-bian, he is willing to put aside the question of whether this self-ruled island should be considered an independent nation or a part of China.

"The idea is to shelve the issue," he said.

Ma, sipping tea in his chaotic campaign headquarters, was buoyed by the clarity of his victory, with 58 percent of the vote. He seemed confident of his ability to move forward with Beijing on agreements covering direct airline flights, increased mainland tourism, commercial ties, confidence-building military arrangements and even a formal end to the state of hostility.

Taiwanese analysts said Ma's inauguration on May 20 will open a new horizon for relations with China, but they warned that much still separates the two sides.

"We can think the unthinkable now," said George Tsai, a political scientist at Chinese Cultural University in Taipei. "But don't expect too much."

Taiwan's president-elect plans to rebuildChina tie 03/23/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:46am]
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