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Mainland Affairs Council

President Ma's Remarks

President Ma presents Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon to former US Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld

President Ma Ying-jeou on the morning of October 11 at the Presidential Office presented former US Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld with the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon in recognition of Mr. Rumsfeld's outstanding contributions in promoting friendship and cooperative relations between Taiwan and the United States.
After the honor was presented to Mr. Rumsfeld, the two held discussions. President Ma stated that since taking office in May 2008, he has strived to promote cross-strait rapprochement, and concrete results have been seen in this regard. In particular, he said, former Secretary Rumsfeld, former US President Bill Clinton, and current US President Barack Obama all publicly welcomed the signing last year of the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement between Taiwan and mainland China, which shows that this action corresponds with the interests of the United States and Taiwan. At the same time, President Ma noted that the pact has eased skepticism among the public here and helped to build unity within Taiwan. President Ma remarked that many American scholars believe that the trilateral relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and the United States is currently the best it has been in 60 years. However, he pointed out that much effort and sincerity are still needed in order to continue promoting reconciliation.
In turning to cross-strait policy, President Ma again emphasized that the government advocates the "no unification, no independence, and no use of force" principle. In addition, the status quo in the Taiwan Strait shall be maintained based on the "1992 Consensus," "one China, respective interpretations," and "one China refers to the Republic of China" standpoints. These policies conform to the ROC Constitution and mainstream public opinion within the ROC. However, said the president, while seeking to continue the development of cross-strait peace, we cannot neglect the nation's security. The government, he said, will continue the Taiwan-US cooperative relationship with regard to security, and the closeness of this cooperation will only increase.
President Ma mentioned that since he took office, the United States has approved the sale of three packages of arms to Taiwan with an aggregate value of US$18.3 billion. The ROC, the president said, is not stressing the volume of arms, but rather feels that it must have sufficient means to defend itself since peace cannot be maintained through wishful thinking. Having a strong defense capability gives the ROC government and people even greater confidence to pursue relations with mainland China, he stated. This will not impede efforts to improve or expand cross-strait relations, he said, but rather can make the people of Taiwan and our friends and allies feel more secure.
President Ma added that the United States, when grating the sale of military weaponry to Taiwan, has reiterated that the “Six Assurances” made by the United States on August 17, 1982 are still in effect. He mentioned that he is deeply pleased by this, adding that this demonstrates that the military cooperation between Taiwan and the United States is quite strong. The government, the president said, will continue to embrace a "low key, no surprises" principle in seeking to enhance the bilateral relationship. President Ma furthermore expressed his gratitude to the United States for meeting the ROC's needs by approving an upgrade to Taiwan's current fleet of F-16A/B series fighter jets. This will extend the life of these aircraft and bolster Taiwan's ability to defend itself and its territory, he said. Meanwhile, given that a large number of Taiwan's aging F5E fighter jets are in urgent need of replacement, President Ma also called on the United States to seriously consider selling Taiwan F-16C/D series fighters. He reiterated that these weapon sales are intended to ensure Taiwan's security, and are not for offensive purposes. This weaponry will raise the level of trust between the government of the ROC, its people, and the nation's friends and allies, and will ease misgivings on all sides while the two sides of the Taiwan Strait proceed with further talks, he said.
President Ma expressed his appreciation to the United States for congressional support for Taiwan's participation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the International Civil Aviation Organization. He said he hopes that besides military cooperation, progress can also be made in granting Taiwan entry into the US Visa Waiver Program and in negotiations under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.
The president praised former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld for his distinguished record in the political and economic arenas. He said that the secretary's memoirs Known and Unknown not only tell of his life experience, but also reveal that his total embrace of freedom and democracy are identical to that of the ROC.
Former Secretary Rumsfeld stated that he is honored to have the opportunity to participate in the Double Tenth National Day ceremonies. He said that the military exercises, performances by special units, and dazzling dancing and entertainment by the energetic youth of Taiwan made a deep impression on him. He also remarked that he learned much from President Ma's National Day Address and that he saw so many nations sending representatives to attend the events, signifying that the world pays attention to and respects the ROC. He furthermore expressed his deepest appreciation for the order bestowed by President Ma.
The ceremony to present the order was held at 9:00 a.m. at the Presidential Office. Among those in attendance to witness the proceedings were National Security Council Secretary-General Hu Wei-jen (胡為真), Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱), and Deputy Foreign Minister Lyushun Shen (沈呂巡).
【Source: Office of the President】