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Ma says he is prepared to meet with newly-elected DPP Chairman Yu

Ma says he is prepared to meet with newly-elected DPP Chairman Yu

In a sign of a possible thaw in frigid relations between Taiwan's two largest parties, opposition Kuomintang Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday evening that he would not mind meeting with newly elected Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃).

"For the sake of Taiwan, avoiding conflict between the government and opposition should be the main agenda for everybody," Ma said. "Therefore, (both the KMT and the DPP) should find areas we can discuss to improve cross-party relations; they might not even be related to politics."

Ma also hoped that the new DPP chairman would embrace a broader perspective and more practical attitude toward issues to be tackled in the future, particularly on relations with China.

He expected that Yu would "bring Taiwan out of its withdrawal from the rest of the world."

The People First Party reacted to Yu's victory, however, by saying it would not affect the interaction between the two parties.

PFP legislative caucus convener Hwang Yih-jiau appeared skeptical that relations between the DPP and the pan-blue parties would improve in the future.

"The DPP has always decided its actions for itself," Hwang said. "Or, to be exact, (President) Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) decides the party's actions for the rest of the DPP. Yu's success in becoming the new DPP chairman is merely an extension of Chen's will."

KMT spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文) echoed Hwang's comments, pointing out that Yu was elected because Chen had "skillfully put his own political tactics to use, proving to the public that he was not a 'lame duck,' that whether it was the premier or the party chairman, Chen would always have the last say."

Cheng said the election merely resulted in Yu becoming another advocate for Chen. She added that since Chen thought there was no need to improve cross-party relations, people should not expect harmonious ties between the government and the opposition in the near future.