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Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou stresses importance of 1992 Consensus

TAIPEI, March 9 -- Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said Wednesday that the 1992 Consensus is the political foundation for both sides of the Taiwan Strait and helps build a "cross-Strait bridge" for peaceful exchanges.

Any future leader can make use of this bridge, but only by accepting the common political foundation, Ma said at the 25th anniversary of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation.

The 1992 Consensus is not only a consensus between both sides of the Taiwan Strait, but also accepted by most people in Taiwan, Ma said.

On the basis of the 1992 Consensus, both sides conducted 11 high-level talks and signed 23 agreements on various areas, making the exchanges closer and closer.

In the past eight years, total volume of cross-Strait trade topped 1 trillion U.S. dollars, with Taiwan seeing surplus of nearly 500 billion U.S. dollars. "Without trade with the mainland, Taiwan may see a huge trade deficit," Ma said.

The "infrastructure" for cross-Strait relations is basically in place, but agreements on goods and service trade are yet to be reached. Ma said he hoped the two agreements would be passed soon, or else Taiwan may be marginalized in regional economic integration.

Ma said he hoped future leader could continue to safeguard peaceful cross-Strait relations and maintain the status-quo, but should not take current relations for granted.

An effective path for addressing cross-Strait relations has been explored, and the path should be maintained for the interests of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who won Taiwan's leadership election in January, remains ambiguous about her stance on the 1992 Consensus.