Taiwan Leader Ma Ying-jeou said in a speech celebrating the 101st "National Day" anniversary Wednesday that his administration will push to set up offices in Taiwan and the mainland to serve the needs of cross-Straits exchange activities and Taiwan patrol vessels will continue to defend the Diaoyu Islands as part of the "territory" of Taiwan.
In the past four-plus years, Taiwan authorities have signed 18 agreements and reached two points of consensus with the mainland and will continue to expand interactions across the Straits on the basis of the 1992 Consensus, whereby each side acknowledges the existence of only "one China" with each side having its own wording for it, Ma was quoted by the Taiwan Central News Agency (CAN) as saying,
"We will push for both sides to set up offices in Taiwan and the mainland to serve the needs of businesses, students and the general public. This will be the key focus of our work on the cross-Straits relationship," he said, noting that he believes both sides "can have a dialogue on democracy and the rule of law," the CAN reported.
Taiwan's "Ministry of Foreign Affairs" had said earlier that a total of 630 foreign dignitaries would take part in the anniversary.
But according to the Japanese Kyodo News, the 29-member Japanese delegation failed to attend the ceremony after finding out that Ma would make remarks on the Diaoyu Islands disputes.
"The Diaoyu Islets have always been part of the 'territory' of the 'Republic of China,'" Ma said, adding that Taiwan's patrol vessels will continue to defend the waters in this area, according to CNA.
The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of China did not respond to Ma's remarks on its official website and could not be reached for comment as of yesterday.