TAIPEI - Taiwan's Ma Ying-jeou, a "presidential" hopeful in
the leading opposition Kuomintang, vowed Monday to end hostility
with mainland and inaugurate direct transportation links if elected in the
2008 polls, an AFP report said.
Ma, former Taipei mayor, said he
would give top priority to forging a peace agreement and a military
confidence-building mechanism with Beijing, according to the report.
Former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou, pictured May 2007, the
"presidential" candidate for Taiwan's leading opposition Kuomintang, on
Monday vowed to end hostility with rival Chinese mainland and
inaugurate direct transportation links if elected in the 2008 polls.
"If elected, I would immediately engage in talks with (the mainland) on the
basis of the '1992 consensus'," he was quoted telling a group of Taiwan
businesspeople, referring to an agreement reached between the former KMT
government and Beijing in 1992.
According to the verbal agreement, both sides agreed there was one China with
Taiwan's "independence"-leaning Democratic Progressive Party has rejected the
agreement since it won elections in 2000, ending the KMT's 51-year grip on
He said he also hoped for closer economic ties with the mainland, including
the opening of the "three direct links" -- transportation, commercial and postal
services which have been cut since 1949.
DPP "presidential" candidate Frank Hsieh has also agreed to inaugurate the
three links but said Taipei and Beijing must face each other as equals.
Cargo and passenger services do exist through third parties, mainly Hong
Despite the lingering political standoff, Chinese mainland has been
Taiwan's largest trading partner since late 2002 and the island's businesspeople
have been major investors on the mainland.
Bilateral trade in 2006 rose to US$88.12 billion, up 15.4 percent according
to figures released by Taiwan's "Board of Foreign Trade".