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President Ma comments on AP interview

President Ma Ying-jeou held a press conference on the evening
of October 19 at the Air Force Songshan Base Command to comment on his exclusive
interview earlier in the day with the Associated Press (AP).

The president stressed that when asked during the interview about
the possibility of political talks with mainland China, he consistently hewed to
the longstanding principle that "economic matters come first, political matters
later." Since the two sides are still in talks on many different economic matters,
political matters will not be discussed, nor is there any timetable for doing so.
In responding to the interviewers’ questions, furthermore, he never drew any link
between this subject and the question of what matters might be addressed during
his first term in office or a prospective second term. The AP report on the interview
is therefore at odds with the facts. The Government Information Office has already
contacted the AP to ask that it correct the error.

The president reiterated that his administration's policy toward
mainland China calls for maintenance of the status quo—"no unification, no independence,
and no use of force"—under the framework of the ROC Constitution. An overwhelming
majority of ROC citizens support a continuation of the status quo. They hope, on
the one hand, to maintain trade, academic, and cultural ties with mainland China,
and at the same time also wish to maintain their current way of living, which includes
democracy and freedom under a democratically elected president and national legislature.
The people are not yet prepared for discussion of political matters—especially not
the issue of reunification.

The president pointed out that the government's policy stance
has always been to address "economic matters before political ones," "easy matters
before difficult ones," and "urgent matters before non-urgent ones." In addition,
public opinion polls show that 40% of the people feel that cross-strait relations
are now proceeding at just the right pace, 37% feel that things are going too fast,
and about 20% feel that progress is too slow, so the government will not accelerate
the pace of cross-strait relations. In the future, all mainland affairs policies
will "align with the nation's needs, have the people's support, and be subject to
legislative oversight," which is what our citizens want.

【Source: Office of the President】