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President Ma meets US Congressman Mike Honda

President Ma Ying-jeou met on the morning of April 6 with US Congressman Mike Honda, and during the meeting expressed his appreciation for Congressman Honda's longstanding support for the development of Taiwan-US relations.
The president mentioned that three years ago, during a trip to Central America, he made a transit stop in San Francisco, California, and during that stopover met with Congressman Honda. The two exchanged opinions on a broad range of topics, including Taiwan-US relations, the state of relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, and Taiwan's desire to be included in the US Visa Waiver Program. President Ma said that the talks were quite fruitful.
President Ma also noted that Congressman Honda is a member of the House Appropriations and Budget Committees. He is also the House Democratic Senior Whip and the Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Congressman Honda holds an important position in the House of Representatives and the ethnic Asian community. Meanwhile, Congressman Honda represents the 15th district of California, which is a center for science and technology, with renowned high-tech companies such as Apple Inc. located in the district. One-third of the district's residents are Asian, including many Taiwanese who have immigrated to the area.
The president pointed out that Congressman Honda is an important member of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus and is a strong supporter of Taiwan. Three years ago, he was instrumental in the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 55 that recognized the achievements of the Taiwan Relations Act on the 30th anniversary of the passage of that legislation. Congressman Honda has also supported resolutions supporting Taiwan's participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization. Meanwhile, together with Representative Eni Faleomavaega, who is also a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, he has recently supported the inclusion of Taiwan in the US Visa Waiver Program, as well as expressed hopes that the United States will send high-ranking officials to visit Taiwan.
President Ma furthermore explained that last year United States Agency for International Development Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah and Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel B. Poneman both made visits to Taiwan. In addition, Taiwan has now been designated as a candidate for inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program. It is expected that formal entry will follow in the second half of this year, which will have enormous benefits for the people of Taiwan when visiting the United States.
The president mentioned that Taiwan-US relations have traditionally been quite cordial. However, it is inevitable that the state of Taiwan-US ties is to a degree impacted by relations with mainland China. He said that he began to work to improve the cross-strait relationship when he took office four years ago in an attempt to reduce tension in the Taiwan Strait. To date, the two sides have signed 16 agreements covering a wide range of areas touching on issues important to people of both sides, and the signing of these agreements has had considerable positive effects on bilateral ties. President Ma noted that this policy is also fundamentally in the national interests of the United States. Meanwhile, four years ago the government began promoting a "low-key, no surprises" approach to its relations with the United States in an effort to re-establish trust at the highest levels between the two sides. This policy has yielded enormous results. Two US presidents have welcomed the development of cross-strait relations and have expressed their support for Taiwan's continuation of this policy. Moreover, the results of the January election for president, vice president, and legislators in Taiwan show that the majority of the public also supports this policy. Consequently, President Ma said that he will continue to promote this policy, for it is conducive to the trilateral relationship between the ROC, the United States, and mainland China, and will enable stability in the Taiwan Strait and East Asia to continue.
Congressman Honda was accompanied to the Presidential Office by American Institute in Taiwan Taipei Office Director William A. Stanton to meet President Ma. Also attending the meeting were Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tung Kuoyu (董國猷) and National Security Council Deputy Secretary General Chih-kung Liu (劉志攻).
【Source: Office of the President】