TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan's president began his second term Sunday and signaled he will maintain a China policy that has reduced tensions between the sides, offering Beijing little early hope of realizing its long-term goal of unification.
Speaking at a low-key inaugural ceremony in Taipei's ornate presidential office building, Ma Ying-jeou hewed to the same formula for relations across the 160-kilometer-wide (100-mile-wide) Taiwan Strait he championed during his first term.
"Our cross-strait policy must maintain the status quo of 'no unification, no independence and no use of force,'" Ma said.
He reaffirmed his support for the so-called 1992 Consensus, an informal agreement reached by representatives of the sides accepting that there is only one China — and not one China, and one Taiwan, which is the stance of many in Taiwan's pro-independence opposition. But Ma enunciated his position in a way apparently calculated to leave hard-liners in Beijing disappointed.
"When we speak of one China, naturally it is the Republic of China," he said.
The Republic of China is the exiled government that Nationalist icon Chiang Kai-shek brought with him to Taiwan in 1949, when Mao Zedong's Communist forces prevailed in the Chinese civil war.
Beijing sees it as a historical relic that lost its legitimacy when Mao proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China 63 years ago. Since then, Chinese leaders have always insisted that Taiwan must be brought under their control, by persuasion if possible, by force if necessary.