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Ma calls for reconciliation, unity in New Year's Day address

Ma calls for reconciliation, unity in New Year's Day address

Taipei, Jan. 1 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Thursday that he is willing to shoulder the blame for public disaffection with the government, but he said in his New Year's address that the ruling and opposition camps should still "sit down together and work out their differences." "We cannot afford the luxury of disunity," he said. Admitting that there is a "gulf" between the two sides of the political spectrum, Ma said they should "drop their strife and seek to cooperate" for the sake of the greater public good, according to the official English translation of his address. To help to ease political tensions, he said he would "welcome a national affairs conference of any sort on any issue," a positive response to a call made earlier by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party. "The antagonism that has long plagued relations between the ruling and opposition camps has prevented effective cooperation," he said. "This has been my greatest regret since taking office." "I am painfully aware that this situation can only be detrimental to the interests of the people, and is not what they want. "Improving relations between the two sides may take time, but Taiwan faces too many pressing matters that must be dealt with over the next year and more. There is no more time to waste. Taiwan cannot afford to wait any longer." In the speech delivered in front of senior government officials, he urged officials to "put themselves in others' shoes, empathize with their situations, try to understand their needs and aspirations, become familiar with their worlds, listen more attentively to their views, and reflect those views in government policies." In the address, titled "Reconciliation, Cooperation and Peace," he also said that progress in cross-strait peace must be consolidated. "In the future, we will continue to maintain the status quo of no unification, no independence, and no use of force under the framework of the ROC Constitution and on the basis of the 1992 Consensus, whereby each side acknowledges the existence of 'one China' but maintains its own interpretation of what that means," he said.
Taiwan will continue forward with follow-up economic and trade talks and establish cross-strait representative offices in order to facilitate even more peaceful relations with China, he said. (By Claudia Liu, Hsieh Chia-chen and Jay Chen)


Updated : 2021-09-22 19:41 GMT+08:00