President Ma Ying-jeou met with Mr. Arthur C. Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an influential think tank based in Washington D.C., on the morning of January 12 at the Presidential Office. President Ma, on behalf of the government and people of the ROC (Taiwan), extended a cordial welcome to Mr. Brooks on his latest visit to Taiwan.
President Ma first expressed his deepest condolences with regards to the passing of Ambassador James Lilley, formerly a senior fellow at the AEI. The president commented that when Ambassador Lilley served as Director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan, he forged deep ties with individuals from both the ruling and opposition parties. Shortly after Ambassador Lilley assumed his position, the United States and mainland China signed the August 17 Communiqué. President Ma said that he was a guest at Ambassador Lilley's residence that evening, and he deeply sensed the wisdom and tact of Ambassador Lilley in his handling of crisis. The president said Ambassador Lilley was a strong supporter of freedom, democracy, prosperity and security throughout his life, and in his diplomatic and scholarly work he was extremely friendly to Taiwan. At the time of the Tiananmen Incident in Beijing, Ambassador Lilley happened to be serving as US ambassador to mainland China, where he witnessed many historically important events, the president said.
President Ma remarked that the AEI is an important think tank in the United States and in the conservative camp, and the organization is deeply influential with regards to policies adopted by the US government. In recent years, the democratic development of the ROC (Taiwan) has enabled relations between Taiwan and the think tank to become increasingly close, he said. President Ma added that after he emerged victorious in the 2008 presidential election here, former US President George W. Bush sent him a congratulatory message, praising Taiwan's democratic accomplishments. President Ma said that is also an important factor in the close relationship between Taiwan and the United States.
The president said that recent American media reports have indicated that there may be new developments with regards to the sale of arms by the United States to Taiwan. Taiwan, he said, is pleased to see that the issue is moving forward, as this not only fulfills America's obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act, but also is advantageous to security in the Taiwan Strait. This bolsters Taiwan's confidence in the process of reconciliation between Taiwan and mainland China. The president said that the policy of selling arms to Taiwan is extremely necessary. He expressed his appreciation to the US government for its constant resolute attitude on this issue, the result of which has helped to pave the way for greater stability and prosperity in the region.
Mr. Brooks expressed his appreciation to President Ma for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet with him. He also forwarded best regards to President Ma from Christopher DeMuth, the former President of the AEI. Mr. Brooks remarked that the AEI is extremely pleased to share with Taiwan the cherished values of democracy, peace and freedom. He also praised Taiwan's economic development and excellence in industrial innovation. Mr. Brooks said he hopes President Ma has an opportunity to deliver a speech to the AEI via teleconference, thereby enhancing mutual friendship and cooperation in a broad range of matters.
Mr. Brooks, AEI Resident Scholar Gary Schmitt, and AEI Resident Fellow Dan Blumenthal were accompanied by Vice Foreign Minister Shen Lyu-shun in the morning to the Presidential Office to meet with President Ma. Also attending the meeting was National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Ho Szu-yin.