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President Ma meets cross-strait affairs delegation from Harvard University's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

President Ma meets with a delegation of scholars from Harvard University's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. (01) President Ma meets with a delegation of scholars from Harvard University's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. (02) President Ma meets with a delegation of scholars from Harvard University's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. (03) President Ma meets with a delegation of scholars from Harvard University's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. (04)
President Ma Ying-jeou met on the afternoon of January 8 with a delegation of scholars from Harvard University's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies who were in Taiwan to discuss cross-strait affairs. The president welcomed the delegation to Taiwan and updated them on the status of Taiwan-US relations and cross-strait ties in recent years.
In remarks, President Ma noted that the delegation members have long paid close attention to the trilateral relationship among Taiwan, the United States, and mainland China, and have provided important viewpoints on a number of issues, which has been extremely helpful.
Commenting on relations between Taiwan and the United States, the president remarked that upon taking office in 2008 he began striving to further develop substantive relations between the two sides on many fronts. He pointed out that US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy visited Taiwan in April of last year, the first American Cabinet-level official to come to Taiwan in 14 years. This, he said, is testament to the steady progress made in bilateral relations.
President Ma furthermore stated that last year marked the 35th anniversary of the passage of the Taiwan Relations Act. He mentioned that US President Barack Obama in November of last year during the APEC Economic Leaders' Week publicly indicated that the United States will continue to act in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act. On December 18, the United States approved the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2014, which, if passed, will allow the sale of four Perry-class frigates to Taiwan, and President Ma said that this is a concrete example of the US administration's fulfillment of the Taiwan Relations Act. He also noted that the ROC government has decided to acquire its submarines through combination of imports and domestic manufacturers, and he expressed hope that the United States will continue helping Taiwan to build diesel-electric submarines.
With respect to cross-strait relations, President Ma stated, over the past six years the two sides have signed 21 agreements and reached consensus on two issues. Bilateral trade continues to grow, indicating that cross-strait relations are moving forward steadily, he said. In addition, the heads of the agencies on each side responsible for cross-strait affairs have met three times over the past year—in Nanjing, Taipei, and Beijing—and in each instance addressed each other by their formal titles, which is an extremely significant development in the normalization of cross-strait relations. He mentioned that the two sides are currently negotiating the Cross-Strait Trade in Goods Agreement, and continue to address other topics of mutual concern, such as allowing mainland Chinese to transit in Taiwan on their way to third destinations, establishing cross-strait representative offices, and signing related agreements.
The president told the visitors that Taiwan is actively playing the role of peacemaker in the Asia-Pacific region. He pointed out that in August of 2012 he unveiled his East China Sea Peace Initiative, which advocates that although sovereignty over national territory cannot be compromised, natural resources can be shared. He said that in April of 2013 Taiwan and Japan signed a fisheries agreement, thereby peacefully resolving a 40-year fishing dispute. The president stated that the signing of this agreement has effectively reduced fishing disputes, and has also significantly boosted catches by fishermen of the two countries. In addition, President Ma mentioned a May 2013 incident in which a Philippine Coast Guard vessel fired upon a Taiwanese fishing boat, killing a fisherman and damaging the boat. The governments of Taiwan and the Philippines held talks on the incident and reached a consensus that: military force should not be used in maritime law enforcement actions; each side should notify the other prior to maritime enforcement actions; and any persons detained or arrested should be released in a speedy manner, he said.
President Ma remarked that besides promoting peace in the region, Taiwan in recent years has also acted as a provider of humanitarian aid. He specifically mentioned that Taiwan provided assistance and donated material goods to Japan in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, and to the Philippines and Palau after those nations were ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. Then in November of last year Taiwan also responded to the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa by donating 100,000 protective suits and transporting them to West Africa to combat the spread of the virus. In addition, Taiwan in December donated US$1 million to the CDC Foundation in the United States to help combat the outbreak. He remarked that Taiwan hopes to work together with these nations to overcome this difficult situation.
Commenting on the refugee crisis in the Middle East triggered by the expansion of ISIL, President Ma pointed out that Taiwan has been actively cooperating since last year with governments in the region and with international non-governmental organizations to provide assistance to displaced persons. Recently, he added, Taiwan donated 350 pre-fab structures to refugee camps in northern Iraq to help refugees there get through the winter. Taiwan's assistance has been valued at over US$8 million, he said, noting that this shows Taiwan's concern for the international community, and is a concrete expression of its compassion.
Lastly, President Ma reiterated that Taiwan will continue to act as a peacemaker, a provider of humanitarian aid, a promoter of cultural ties, a creator of new technologies and business opportunities, and a standard-bearer of Chinese culture, which will make the ROC an asset to the world community.
The delegation included Steven M. Goldstein (director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies' Taiwan Studies Workshop, and professor at the Smith College Department of Government); Joseph Fewsmith (professor of international relations and political science at Boston University); Robert S. Ross (professor of political science at Boston College); Alastair Iain Johnston (professor at the Harvard University Department of Government); Thomas J. Christensen (director of the China and the World Program at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs); and Alan Romberg (distinguished fellow and director of the East Asia Program at Stimson Center).
【Source: Office of the President】