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  • President Ma meets delegation from US National Association of Secretaries of State
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President Ma meets delegation from US National Association of Secretaries of State. President Ma Ying-jeou meets delegation from US National Association of Secretaries of State. President Ma meets delegation from US National Association of Secretaries of State on October 2. President Ma meets delegation from US NASS.
President Ma Ying-jeou met on the morning of October 2 with a delegation from the US National Association of Secretaries of State. The president, on behalf of the government and people of the ROC, extended a warm welcome to the visitors and expressed his hope that this trip will help to further strengthen mutual cooperation and ties, as well as pave the way for mutually beneficial development opportunities.

The president remarked that secretaries of state play a crucial role in states throughout the United States. The National Association of Secretaries of State, he said, offers an important platform for interaction among the states, with members addressing topics of mutual concern and exchanging opinions. Over the past five years, the president said, the association has passed three resolutions supporting the ROC, including resolutions in 2005 and 2009 supporting the signing of a free trade agreement between the ROC and the United States, as well as a resolution in 2008 supporting the ROC's entry into the World Health Organization. The president said he is deeply touched by the friendship expressed by the association to the ROC.

President Ma also commented that two-thirds of American states maintain sister relationships with Taiwan, and 13 of these states have established offices here in order to promote economic, trade, and investment ties. He said that during his tenure as Taipei City mayor he inked sister city agreements with Houston, Boston, and Los Angeles. Each year, sister cities engage in various exchanges and officials make visits, helping to create close ties, he remarked.

The president told the visitors that presently 117 jurisdictions throughout the world provide ROC nationals with visa-free courtesies or landing visas. He expressed his hope that the ROC will soon be able to participate in the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Taiwan nationals make over 400,000 visits to the United States each year for tourism, and the president said he is confident that inclusion of Taiwan in the VWP would help to foster even closer economic relations between the two countries.

President Ma remarked that since losing its representation in the United Nations (UN) in 1971, the ROC has faced challenges in joining international organizations. As a result, the government is actively seeking opportunities for the ROC to take part in UN-affiliated activities and organizations, including the International Civil Aviation Organization and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Participation in these organizations has significant bearing on the wellbeing of the people of Taiwan, he said.

The president also called for negotiations between the two countries under their Trade and Investment Framework Agreement to resume as soon as possible, which would enable bilateral investment and trade to continue to grow. At the same time, he also called for progress in negotiations on an extradition agreement between the two sides, as this would help the efforts of both sides to crack down on crime.

The delegation, including Florida Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning, North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin and Mrs. Martin, and Puerto Rico Secretary of State Kenneth D. McClintock Hernández, was accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Lyushun Shen (沈呂巡) to the Presidential Office to meet President Ma. Also attending the meeting was National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Chih-kung Liu (劉志攻).
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