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President touts better ties with U.S., China, Japan

President touts better ties with U.S., China, Japan

New York, Aug. 13 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou expounded on how relations between Taiwan and neighboring powers have improved over the past five years at a banquet for overseas Chinese in New York on Sunday. Ma was in the city on a three-day transit stop on his way to a diplomatic visit five of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Taiwan's relations with the United States, mainland China, Japan, and other countries have grown under his administration, Ma told those in attendance. Ties with the U.S. in particular have become closer, with security and economic cooperation now at levels greater even than before the two countries broke off diplomatic ties in 1979, he said. Cross-strait ties have also grown to be the most stable since 1949, the year that Taiwan and China began to be administrated separately, he said. Achievements in relations with Beijing include 19 agreements between the two sides, all made under a framework of "one China" with each side reserving the right to interpret the definition of "one China." A fishery agreement signed with Japan shows the friendly relations between the two countries, while an economic cooperation agreement signed with New Zealand and one in negotiations with Singapore will help boost Taiwan's bid to enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, two free trade blocs, he said. Speaking on Taiwan's internal affairs, Ma said that the country has managed to maintain its competitive edge despite a weak global economy in recent years, a position that he said could be improved even more through trade liberalization, export expansion, public investment, and free economic demonstration zones. The president added that he was open to meeting with leaders from the nation's opposition parties to discuss affairs of national concern. (By Leaf Yeh and Y.L. Kao)