18th Party Congress

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou congratulates new leader Xi Jinping

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 November, 2012, 5:13am

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday called for greater cross-strait trust and co-operation as he became the first KMT chief to formally congratulate a new Communist Party leader since the bitter civil war.

Ma, who wrote to newly installed general secretary Xi Jinping in his capacity as Kuomintang chairman, noted that relations between Beijing and Taipei had reached their highest point in six decades under the "1992 consensus", which allows each side to have its own interpretation of the cross-strait political situation.

In his message, Ma stressed the need for more exchanges between the two sides, which he said would benefit people on both sides of the strait.

"We hope the two sides can continue to expand and deepen their exchange, and work for the establishment of representative offices in each other's side," Ma said.

Beijing has regarded Taiwan as a breakaway province since the KMT fled to the island after losing the Chinese civil war in 1949.

Relations have improved greatly since Ma's election in 2008.

Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party yesterday issued a statement urging Xi to "respect the opinions of the Taiwanese public, have a new mindset and broader view on cross-strait issues and improve cross-strait interactions based on equality and reciprocity, so that real peace and stability can be achieved".

Meanwhile, in Tokyo, even as Japan is embroiled in a territorial spat with Beijing over the Diaoyu, or Senkaku, islands, the Foreign Ministry's deputy press secretary Naoko Saiki said Japan wanted to develop "mutually beneficial" relations with China's new leaders.