Former President Ma Ying-jeou (???) on Thursday gave a speech at the 8th World Chinese Economic Summit in Melaka, Malaysia, in which he urged participants to help Taiwan join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
In the speech titled "The Prospects for Closer Relations between Taiwan and the ASEAN Economies," Ma said he believes business and trade will bring Taiwan and ASEAN closer together in the future.
Political and diplomatic factors make it difficult for Taiwan to sign free trade agreements with other countries, he noted, calling on Southeast Asian countries to support Taiwan's efforts to participate in regional trade blocs such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.
Given Taiwan's important role in the global supply chain, the country's participation in ASEAN would benefit all parties, he said.
Ma's visit to Malaysia is his first overseas trip since leaving office on May 20 and has been arranged mainly at the invitation of the organizers of the World Chinese Economic Summit.
However, opposition from China meant that Ma's title was omitted from the summit handbook, which referred to him simply as "H.E. Ma Ying-jeou."
In light of the situation, Ma wore a self-prepared name tag that clearly identified him as "Former President of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
At the beginning of his speech, he also emphasized "I am Ma Ying-jeou, former president of the Republic of China (Taiwan)."
In Taiwan, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (???) said it is "extremely impolite and inappropriate" for the organizers of the meeting to treat a former ROC head of state in such a way.
He demanded the organizers apologize immediately.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel