Taipei, Sept. 21 (CNA) Peaceful relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have helped forge greater international space for Taiwan, and the government will continue to focus on the warming ties to improve Taiwan's global presence, Vice President Wu Den-yih said Friday.
As many as 129 countries have granted visa-free status to Taiwan, which indicates that the improving cross-strait relations have won international recognition, Wu said.
The figure marks a huge jump from when the major opposition Democratic Progressive Party was in power, he said, adding only 54 countries showed such good will to Taiwan during that eight-year period from 2000-2008.
"The current situation shows that the Republic of China is respected and Taiwanese people are welcome (around the world)," Wu said at a conference held to discuss the future development of cross-strait relations.
He said the government's efforts to enlarge Taiwan's presence on the global stage could be further fueled by visa-free status from the United States, which many people think could be granted by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, a senior Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official said on the sidelines of the conference that the government's existing policy toward China will remain the same despite an imminent personnel reshuffle of the country's main agency in charge of China affairs.
"The cross-strait policy will be consistent and effective," said MAC deputy head Chang Hsien-yao.
Chang is referring to reports that Wang Yu-chi, a national security adviser to President Ma Ying-jeou will soon replace Lai Shin-yuan as MAC head.
Lai has been tapped to become Taiwan's permanent representative to the World Trade Organization, government sources said.
(By Lee Hsin-Yin)