Ma lauds enhanced Taiwan-US cooperation

President Ma Ying-jeou (right) greets Charles Rivkin, U.S. assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, at the Presidential Office June 1 in Taipei City. (Courtesy of Presidential Office)
President Ma Ying-jeou (right) greets Charles Rivkin, U.S. assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, at the Presidential Office June 1 in Taipei City. (Courtesy of Presidential Office)

President Ma Ying-jeou said June 1 that Taiwan-U.S. relations are going from strength to strength and he looks forward to deepening bilateral cooperation across a broad spectrum of areas.

“Taiwan and the U.S. are important to one another, with two-way exchanges growing steadily since I took office in May 2008,” Ma said. “These strong ties are underscored by the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the Global Cooperation and Training Framework.”

The framework is expected to serve as a platform for the two sides to expand joint efforts on regional and global issues. Examples include fostering civil society as the foundation of democracy, promoting renewable energy and providing humanitarian assistance.

Ma made the remarks while meeting with Charles Rivkin, U.S. assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs, at the Presidential Office in Taipei City.

Rivkin, the highest-ranking American official to visit Taiwan since his predecessor Jose Fernandez in 2012, is in country for the signing of the memorandum and to attend Computex Taipei and Future City Workshop at Taiwan Air Force Innovation Park.

According to the president, Rivkin’s Taiwan trip is testament to the high level of mutual trust between Taipei and Washington. “This healthy state of affairs is also reaffirmed by the visits of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy in April 2014 and senior U.S. official for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Robert Wang in May this year,” he said.

Taiwan is taking a step-by-step approach in further developing bilateral ties, Ma said, adding that this process is supported by the resumption of talks in 2013 with the U.S. under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.

On the economic front, the president said two-way trade scaled new heights last year. “Taiwan surpassed India and Saudi Arabia to become the 10th largest trading partner of the U.S., while the U.S. replaced Japan as Taiwan’s second leading partner.

“We expect both sides to capitalize on this positive trend and move toward fast-tracking talks on investment and e-commerce under the TIFA, as well as Taiwan’s enhanced participation in regional integration initiatives such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

In response, Rivkin said the U.S. values Taiwan as a staunch ally in promoting regional peace and prosperity, and the memorandum brings two like-minded partners closer together and creates new opportunities.

“The framework is a milestone that will bring into full focus Taiwan’s transformation into an international aid provider, offering a new venue for Taiwan to tell its story in a way that may inspire others to follow its successful development path.” (YHC-JSM)

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