Re-elected Taiwan leader: China politics can wait

January 15, 2012 - 2:05 AM

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Economy first, politics later. That's how Taiwan's newly re-elected president views relations with the Chinese mainland, which is bent on achieving unity with the democratic island but will have to wait for it.

Beijing favored President Ma Ying-jeou over a challenger from a pro-independence party, and has worked with Ma to build closer economic links. But while Chinese President Hu Jintao would like to see progress in repairing the rift between Taiwan and the mainland before he leaves office this year, Ma made clear after declaring victory Saturday that he wants to strengthen economic ties before addressing political issues.

The two sides split amid civil war in 1949, and China wants Taiwan back into the fold — by persuasion if possible, by force if necessary.