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Ma hopes virtuous cycle in Taiwan-China-U.S. relations continues

2016/01/18 21:18:14

William Burns (left) and Ma Ying-jeou (right)

Taipei, Jan. 18 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) told a visiting United States envoy Monday that the vicious cycle in relations between Taiwan, China and the U.S. has ended, replaced by a virtuous cycle that he hoped will continue.

The president expressed his hope while meeting former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and other senior U.S. officials who were in Taiwan to extend the U.S. government's congratulations to Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for winning the presidential election on Saturday.

Burns thanked Ma for building closer relations between Taiwan and the U.S. in the spirit and letter of trust during his two terms as president, making the bilateral relationship the best ever.

Ma said his efforts to restore trust between Taiwan and the U.S. had paid off, saving the latter the trouble of having to choose between Taipei and Beijing when tensions arose in cross-Taiwan Strait ties.

The virtuous cycle he helped achieve in relations between the three parties has not only generated common benefits for Taiwan and the U.S. but also has created peace and prosperity across the Taiwan Strait, he said.

During the meeting, which was also attended by American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Raymond Burghardt and AIT Taipei office Director Kin Moy, Ma also addressed U.S. hopes that his administration will handle the transition of power to Tsai's new administration smoothly.

Ma said he plans to appoint a new premier who enjoys the endorsement of the "new public opinion" as expressed in Saturday's elections -- a proposal that he hoped the president-elect would agree to "for the sake of the country."

Before the issue has been resolved, however, Ma said he will not approve Premier Mao Chi-kuo's (毛治國) resignation.

"Only when we have a new Cabinet that is supported by the new public opinion can we have a seamless transfer of power to the next ruling party," he said.

Ma's term will not end until May 20, while the new Legislature will be sworn in on Feb. 1, leaving the central government in limbo for almost four months.

Despite Ma's desire to keep Mao on, the incumbent premier led his Cabinet in resigning en masse earlier in the day and insisted he would not accept any attempt to retain him. Vice Premier Simon Chang (張善政) is now Taiwan's acting premier.

Ma's proposal for setting up a new Cabinet was supported by Kuomintang presidential candidate Eric Chu (朱立倫), who told Burns in a separate meeting that his view on that has not changed.

"I proposed before Election Day that the majority party in the new Legislature should form a new Cabinet. My proposal remains unchanged," said Chu, whose party won only 35 seats in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan, against 68 seats garnered by the DPP.

Chu won only 31 percent of the vote in the presidential election, compared with 56 percent for Tsai and nearly 13 percent for People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

(By Claudia Liu, Tang Pei-chun and S.C. Chang)