March 24, Channel News Asia

TAIPEI : Taiwan's president-elect Ma Ying-jeou said Sunday he had no plans to visit China soon although he promised to improve ties with Beijing during campaigning.

"I have no plans to visit China in the near future," Ma told a press conference in Taipei.

"We want to work on substantive issues. If we are able to do that we will consider whether a high level visit is required," he said.

Ma also called for a "mutual non-denial" agreement with China under which they can co-exist peacefully alongside each other.

"We will not deny their existence but we cannot recognise their sovereignty."

Ma, of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), won a landslide victory in Saturday's elections and will formally take over on May 20.

Ma had made improving ties with Beijing a cornerstone of his platform for the KMT, and that - plus concern over the economy - swept him to a 17-point win over ruling party chief Frank Hsieh.

The vote had been closely watched by Beijing and Washington for signs of a new approach after eight years of recurring tensions under outgoing President Chen Shui-bian.

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photo by CNA