Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou says he’s only getting started in opening new economic links with China, after doing more than any of his predecessors to improve relations since the two sides split in 1949.
“We’re just at the beginning,” Ma said during an interview yesterday, describing the warmest ties in six decades. In the past 12 months, direct commercial flights have begun, mainland tourists have made 375,000 trips across the Taiwan Strait and both entities have relaxed investment rules.
Ma’s administration says a fuller economic agreement to cut restrictions on trade with China could increase the island’s exports by about 5 percent, or $13 billion based on last year’s figures, and add 273,000 jobs.
Taiwan may be playing into China’s goal of using economic clout to end any chance of gaining independence, said Sun Zhe, a senior adviser to the Taiwan Affairs Office, China’s agency for Taiwan policy.