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Tsai says no change in DPP's stance on sovereignty in South China Sea

2016/03/30 16:48:11

Taipei, March 30 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) told President-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) during their meeting Wednesday that his government has never worked with mainland China on the issue concerning Taiping Island in South China Sea, while Tsai stressed no change in her party's stance.

In a press conference following the closed-door meeting, which was the first of its kind since the presidential election on Jan. 16, Presidential Office spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) said Ma explained to Tsai during the encounter the stance of the Philippines and Vietnam on the Taiping Island issue and how the United States interprets the issue.

President Ma underscored that on the issue, there has been no cooperation with mainland China, and he praised Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) for having declared during his speech in the U.S. early this year that the DPP will never relinquish any of Taiwan's sovereignty in the South China Sea.

The president expressed his wish that the DPP not be "absent" in addressing the issue of Taiwan-controlled Taiping Island, part of the disputed Sprately Islands in the South China Sea, Chen said.

Prior to the presidential election, there had been an allegation that the DPP planned on relinquishing Taiwan's sovereignty in the South China Sea if it assumes power. The allegation was later rebuked by the party as absurd.

In her reply, Tsai said she hopes Ma will not misjudge the DPP's stance, regardless of differing opinions expressed by some DPP lawmakers, according to Chen.

Tsai also said that the DPP, which is still an opposition party before she assumes office on May 20, wants to know the history of Taiping Island as soon as possible by having access to the relevant files and data.

In the end, Tsai, who chairs the DPP, stressed that her party has never changed its stance on Taiwan's sovereignty claim over Taiping Island, Chen said.

The two political leaders exchanged views on various issues ranging from diplomacy and the national annuity scheme to energy resources and sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea during Wednesday's meeting, according to Presidential Office Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權).

During the meeting Ma was accompanied by Tseng, Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Hsiao Hsu-tsen (蕭旭岑), and Presidential Office spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信), while Tsai was joined by Wu, DPP Deputy Secretary-General Liu Chien-hsin (劉建忻) and Alex Huang (黃重諺), head of the party's department of news and information.

Tseng said Ma and Tsai talked with each other for about 70 minutes, during which Ma called for reconciliation and cooperation between the ruling and opposition parties.

The president also asked for a "seamless takeover" of governance, and said he will offer his assistance without any hesitation if he is asked to help in the future, Tseng cited Ma as saying.

Asked at the press conference if Ma and Tsai had discussed on cross-Taiwan Strait relations, the "1992 consensus" or the progress of the planned cross-strait agreements on trade in services and trade in merchandise, Tseng said time was too short to touch on those issues.

Ma only said that everyone knows his government's stance and principles in handling cross-strait relations, and Tsai did not make any remarks on the subject, Tseng said.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen, Tai Ya-chen, Tang Pei-cjun and Elizabeth Hsu)
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