Taiwan's Ma stresses cross-Strait peace

TAIPEI, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou on Thursday urged efforts to strengthen cross-strait peace, saying "achievements made over the past six years stand as proof that seeking peace in this way is the right way to go."

Achieving reconciliation within Taiwan society is only part of the picture, and cross-strait peace must also be strengthened, Ma said in his New Year address, titled "Reconciliation, Cooperation, and Peace" and released by his office.

"As I see it, we seek three goals in conducting cross-strait relations. The first is peace. The second is also peace. And the third, once again, is peace," Ma added.

Ma pledged to adhere to the principle of "putting Taiwan first for the benefit of its people" on the basis of the 1992 Consensus, and to push forward follow-up economic and trade talks and the establishment of cross-strait representative offices in order to facilitate more peaceful relations.

He noted that everyone in society, including in small and medium-sized enterprises, ought to share the dividends generated by cross-strait peace, especially the benefits that come from stronger economic and trade ties.

Ma praised the gradual institutionalization of cross-strait relations for its concrete results over the past six-and-a-half years, citing increased direct flights, closer trade and investment ties, and more frequent cultural and educational interactions.

"And even more encouraging than all of that is the fact that young people from both sides are much more broadly and deeply engaged with each other, all the time," he said. "This is going to lay the foundations for peace among the next generation of ethnic Chinese."

As the new year unfolds, Ma urged officials to bear in mind the lessons that have been learned, including better handling of issues related to youth, labor relations, the needs of the disadvantaged and urban-rural disparities, and on adopting more effective fiscal, economic, and social policies for more equal distribution of wealth.

He also promised to support any dialogue or cooperation between the ruling and opposition camps that would help to ease political tensions.

"The world is changing drastically and it won't stop for Taiwan," Ma said.

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