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President Ma meets US congressional delegation

During a meeting with a delegation of US congressmen presently on a visit to Taiwan, President Ma Ying-jeou remarked on the morning of February 21 that the improvement in relations between Taiwan and mainland China has enabled Taiwan to be seen as an asset within the international community. The president stated that during his second term in office he will continue seeking to replace conflict with reconciliation, and to shift from confrontation to negotiation. This, he said, will bring greater peace to the Taiwan Strait and will aid in the stable development of the Asia-Pacific region.
President Ma first expressed his welcome to the guests and briefed them on the progress in relations between Taiwan and the international community in recent years. The president commented that the situation in the international community in recent years has become increasingly complex with the emergence of mainland China. Taiwan has sought a path to survival and development in a milieu shaped by the United States, mainland China, and Japan, and steps taken over the past three-plus years have already shown initial results. Relations between Taiwan and the United States are the closest they have been since the two nations severed formal diplomatic relations in 1979. Meanwhile, ties between Taiwan and Japan are the strongest that they have been in 40 years. In addition, the significant reduction in tensions in the Taiwan Strait has paved the way for the most amiable interaction between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait in 60 years. All of these are considerable accomplishments.
President Ma furthermore stated that since taking office in May 2008 he has made every effort to alleviate cross-strait tensions. The government has worked to replace conflict with reconciliation, and has emphasized negotiation as a means to resolve differences. Proactive measures in this regard over the past three-plus years have effectively improved cross-strait relations and made Taiwan an important asset within the international community. In addition, this has created a virtuous cycle for Taiwan in its international relations. In the future, Taiwan will continue to embrace this principle, which he said will enable the Republic of China to continue to play the role of a "peacemaker."
The president thanked the United States government for its support and positive recognition. In particular, he pointed out the decision by the United States to include Taiwan as a candidate for inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program. In September of last year, the US administration approved the sale of kits to upgrade Taiwan's fleet of F-16A/B series fighter jets, thus bringing to over US$18 billion the amount of weapon sales by the United States to Taiwan over the past three-plus years, which he stated was the highest in the past 10 years. In addition, in November of last year US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a speech at the APEC meetings in Honolulu, Hawaii emphasized the importance of the security and economic partnership between Taiwan and the United States. President Ma said he was particularly pleased to hear these remarks.
The president stressed that he will continue working to enhance ties with the United States. In addition to continuing with consultations on a wide variety of topics, Taiwan will take a "low key, no surprises" approach to its conduct of diplomacy. This should pave the way for greater developmental opportunities between the two sides, as Taiwan and the United States both share the core values of democracy, human rights, and peace. He expressed his hopes that the friendship between the two sides will continue to move forward based on this strong foundation.
The delegation of over 10 visitors included Congressman Eni Faleomavaega and Mrs. Faleomavaega, Congressman Dan Boren and Mrs. Boren, Congressman Mike Ross and Mrs. Ross, and members of their staff. The delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office by William A. Stanton, Director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tung Kuoyu (董國猷). Also attending the meeting was National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Chih-kung Liu (劉志攻).
【Source: Office of the President】