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President Ma meets with congratulatory delegation from the United States

Former US White House Chief of Staff William Michael Daley has led a congratulatory delegation from the United States to Taiwan to attend the inauguration ceremonies for the 13th-term president and vice president of the ROC. On the afternoon of May 20, the delegation visited the Presidential Office to meet with President Ma Ying-jeou. Also attending the meeting were Vice President Wu Den-yih, National Security Council Secretary-General Hu Wei-jen (胡為真), and Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Chin-tien Yang (楊進添).
President Ma first expressed a cordial welcome and appreciation to Mr. Daley. He said that as soon as the announcement was made on January 14 that he was elected to another term, he immediately received congratulatory messages from the White House and the US Department of State. President Ma said he was quite touched by the messages, adding that this marked the fifth direct presidential election here, which again points to Taiwan's resolute determination to move forward down the path of democracy.
The president remarked that four years ago after being inaugurated he immediately sought to improve relations between Taiwan and the United States, Japan, and mainland China. These efforts have yielded enhanced economic relations as well as greater security for Taiwan, he said. In particular, he conducts cross-strait relations under the framework of the ROC Constitution, adheres to the status quo of "no unification, no independence, and no use of force," and looks to the "1992 Consensus"—whereby each side acknowledges the existence of "one China" but maintains its own interpretation of what that means—as the basis of ties between the two sides, he added, pointing out that the cross-strait relationship has improved, and the United States has also expressed its support and welcome for the 16 agreements that Taiwan and mainland China have signed.
President Ma stated that the US government has demonstrated its determination to fulfill its commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act. In addition to reiterating a commitment to the "Six Assurances," the current US administration and its predecessor have approved arms sales to Taiwan valued at US$18.3 billion, with the Obama administration having approved US$12 billion, he said. This shows the people of Taiwan that the United States not only supports the improvement of cross-strait relations, but also places great importance on Taiwan's security.
President Ma also thanked the US government for expressing its resolute support for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In particular, during last year's world Health Assembly, US Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius specially held a press conference during which she emphasized that specialized organizations under the United Nations do not have the right to unilaterally decide the status of Taiwan. President Ma said that the ROC (Taiwan) will always remember these remarks, adding that this constituted the strongest demonstration of support for Taiwan by the American government in an international setting since the severing of diplomatic ties between the two nations.
President Ma also told the guests that Taiwan hopes to achieve the conditions to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) within the next eight years and that it hopes that negotiations under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the United States can be resumed as soon as possible. The president stressed that the United States is Taiwan's third largest trading partner, while Taiwan is the 15th largest export market for the United States and its sixth largest market for agricultural products. Meanwhile, Taiwan is the fourth largest holder of US treasuries, he said. In response to President Obama's calls for the establishment of the TPP, Taiwan is presently discussing economic cooperation agreements with Singapore and New Zealand, and it hopes that this will help to boost the level of Taiwan's liberalization in order to prepare for participation in the TPP, ideally within the next eight years, the president said. President Ma noted that TIFA negotiations have been delayed as the result of the issue of US beef imports to Taiwan, and expressed his hope that this issue can be resolved swiftly, enabling bilateral economic and trade relations to move forward.
Lastly, the president reiterated that nearly 25,000 students from Taiwan study in the United States, making Taiwan the fifth largest source of foreign students there. He said he hopes that the United States will formally include Taiwan in its Visa Waiver Program in the second half of this year. The president also said he hopes the visitors will forward his best wishes and gratitude to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The delegation led by Mr. Daley included former Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg, former Director of Policy Planning at the State Department Anne-Marie Slaughter, American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond F. Burghardt, and former AIT Chairman and current Director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution Richard C. Bush III.
【Source: Office of the President】