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Taiwan’s newly-elected president, Ma Ying-jeou, is determined to relax the tension that has gripped the Taiwan Strait for more than a decade. His positions during the election campaign were calculated to reassure both the Beijing government and the Taiwanese people. On the one hand, he made it clear that he would remove barriers to improved relations and reach out to the Chinese leadership. At the same time, he was equally clear in his commitment to protecting Taiwan’s interests. Ma’s positions strike a balance between preserving Taiwan’s de facto political independence and moving toward a more constructive relationship with the mainland. This approach enjoys widespread popular support in Taiwan. Still, the devil is in the details, and implementing Ma’s ideas will require cooperation from Beijing, and from other political actors within Taiwan itself.