Ma proposes ways of deepening ties with China

10/24/2012 11:04 PM
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Taipei, Oct. 24 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Wednesday he will deepen Taiwan's relations with China by expanding bilateral exchanges, reviewing relevant laws, and seeking the establishment of representative offices on both sides.

Ma, who doubles as chairman of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), made the remarks at a KMT Central Standing Committee meeting Wednesday.

A KMT official who attended the meeting told reporters that Ma hopes more Chinese students will come to Taiwan for higher education.

To date, there are about 13,000 Chinese students participating in exchange programs in Taiwan and around 1,000 in degree programs, Ma said.

Taiwan's many universities will fill the gap in educational opportunities in China for Chinese students, he said.

The president also said he hopes to see the completion of the follow-up negotiations to the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China.

Meanwhile, in light of the growing number of tourists traveling between the two sides, the president hopes that both sides will set up reciprocal representative offices, the KMT official said.

About 7 million Taiwanese tourists visited China last year.

"It's only natural that both sides should establish representative offices, given such developments," Ma was quoted as saying.

He added, however, that laws will have to be put in place to facilitate the establishment of such offices.

On social matters, Ma said his government will seek a law amendment to allow Chinese spouses to obtain a Taiwan ID card after four years of residence in Taiwan, as is the case for other foreign spouses.

Currently, Chinese spouses are required to have six years of residence in Taiwan before they could become eligible for a Taiwan ID card.

Government statistics show that there are over 260,000 Chinese spouses currently living in Taiwan.

(By Li Shu-hua and Ann Chen)ENDITEM /pc

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