Call for patience in cross-strait relations Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou called for patience and tolerance in cross-strait rapprochement during a radio interview broadcast directly to mainland netizens. In yet another breakthrough in cross-strait ties, Mr Ma - through Ifeng.com, the internet portal of Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV - was able to tell hundreds of millions of people of his cross-strait policy, the economic woes the island is facing and the latest political developments in Taiwan since he took office in May. He also answered two questions from among more than 10,000 questions sent to Ifeng.com in the past week. It was the first time any Taiwanese leader was able to have his voice heard and his image seen on the mainland through Ifeng.com, which co-operated with the Taipei-based Radio Taiwan International (RTI) in broadcasting its interview with Mr Ma yesterday morning. A more significant breakthrough was his response to a question by RTI on how he was able to ease concerns from the pro-independence camp that his engagement with the mainland served only to hurt Taiwan's sovereignty. In responding, Mr Ma on several occasions used Taiwan's official title - the Republic of China - and addressed himself as 'ROC president' when he mentioned his meeting with the mainland's top negotiator, Chen Yunlin , during his historic visit to Taiwan last month. Although part of his answer - that Mr Chen could not turn a blind eye to the island's national flag and anthem during his visit - was edited, his assertion of his and the island's official titles as well as Taiwanese sovereignty were left unedited by Ifeng.com. In his interview, Mr Ma stressed that patience and tolerance were needed if the two sides were to further improve their relations. He criticised the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party for trying to push through the 'one country on each side of the Taiwan Strait' concept in cross-strait relations, which he said would only hurt bilateral ties. 'The reason the world no longer calls us a troublemaker is all because we seek to improve relations with the mainland,' he said. He also sought to promote his proposal for both a diplomatic and cross-strait truce, saying there was a need for the two sides to extend their reconciliation not just in the Taiwan Strait but also to the international arena. Meanwhile, in a news conference for foreign media in Taiwan, when asked about the possibility of a peace agreement between the two sides, Mr Ma said there was no hurry. 'This is something that both sides have in mind, but it's not really an urgent question for both sides to engage each other on because hostility or even the atmosphere of hostility across the Taiwan Strait has been reduced to an all-time low,' he said. There were other, more urgent, issues in the areas of trade and investment and this should be the first priority, as agreed by both sides, he said. For the third round of talks scheduled to be held in Beijing in the first half of next year, he said the two sides would focus on the signing of a memorandum of understanding on financial co-operation, avoidance of double taxation, protection of Taiwanese investment on the mainland and efforts to fight cross-strait crimes. In an apparent effort to avoid hurting the slowly improving cross-strait ties, Mr Ma ruled out an intended visit by the Dalai Lama, who recently expressed his hope to make a third visit to the island. 'The Dalai Lama has visited Taiwan twice, and we generally welcome all religious leaders to visit, but at the current moment, the timing isn't appropriate for that,' he told the foreign media in Taipei. He did not elaborate on when would be good timing.