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  • President Ma meets President Richard Ellings of the US National Bureau of Asian Research
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President Ma meets with a delegation led by President Richard Ellings of the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), a US think tank. (01) President Ma meets with a delegation led by President Richard Ellings of the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), a US think tank. (02) President Ma meets with a delegation led by President Richard Ellings of the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), a US think tank. (03)
President Ma Ying-jeou met with a delegation led by President Richard Ellings of the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), a US think tank, on the morning of April 9. The president expressed a cordial welcome and deep appreciation to the visitors on their visit to Taiwan.

In remarks, the president commented that the NBR was founded as an academic institution by the late Senator Henry M. Jackson in 1989, and is an important think tank in the field of Asian strategic and political issues. In particular, now that the US has adopted a policy of "rebalancing toward Asia," the president noted, the organization has become all the more influential within the US policy community.

President Ma stated that one of the members of the visiting delegation is Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, who formerly served as the commander of the United States Pacific Command. Admiral Fargo, he said, served in the United States Navy for 35 years and won many medals and honors for his distinguished service, he commented. In addition, the United States Pacific Command has long played a critical role in fostering peace, safety, prosperity, and stability in Asia, the president noted. In recent years, that unit has maintained close interaction with the ROC, he pointed out.

President Ma mentioned that in March of this year, Deputy US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis led a delegation to Taiwan to resume negotiations between the two countries under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement that was signed back in 1994. The talks, he said, were highly conducive to promoting greater trade, investment, and commercial cooperation between the two countries. Furthermore, the president expressed hope that in the future the two sides will be able to develop an even closer cooperative economic and trade relationship, which he said would help pave the way for Taiwan to achieve its objective of participating in regional economic integration and joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

President Ma stated that prior to his taking office, relations between Taiwan and the United States were in the doldrums, which is why, after being sworn in, he immediately adopted a "low key, no surprises" approach to interaction between the two sides, and this has helped restore mutual trust at the highest levels. He also pointed out that since 2008 the United States has agreed to three sales of arms to Taiwan worth an aggregate US$18 billion. In addition, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in November 2011 publicly declared that Taiwan is an important security and economic partner of the United States. President Ma also mentioned that the government here has been working with the United States to fight terrorism, human trafficking, and nuclear proliferation, and the two sides are cooperating closely in the areas of technology, culture, and education.

President Ma also remarked that for many years the Taiwan Strait and the Korean Peninsula had been generally regarded as two potential flashpoints in East Asia. Actions by the North Korean leadership in recent days have clouded the peninsula with tension and the possibility of war, which contrasts with the outlook for harmony and prosperity in the Taiwan Strait, he said. The president noted that Taiwan and mainland China are in talks on a cooperative effort to fight avian flu. He said that Taiwan hopes to obtain a strain of the H7N9 virus at an early date so that, over the next several months, it can manufacture a vaccine to benefit people in both Taiwan and mainland China.

The president then turned the topic of the conversation to tension in the East China Sea over Japan's moves to nationalize the Diaoyutai Islets. President Ma stated that in August of last year Taiwan unveiled its East China Sea Peace Initiative, and in November of last year Taiwan proposed fishing negotiations with Japan. The purpose of these proposals, he said, is to resolve disputes via peaceful means. He also expressed hope that the fishing talks will yield results in the near future. The president stated that disputes over territory involve the issue of sovereignty, and although sovereignty over national territory cannot be compromised, natural resources can be shared. He added that the joint development of resources in the East China Sea would minimize the dispute and make this area a symbol of cooperation and peace.

President Ma reiterated that the ROC hopes to act in the international community as a peacemaker and a provider of humanitarian aid, and he expressed confidence that this visit to Taiwan by persons associated with the NBR delegation will help to promote greater understanding of Taiwan.

The eight-member delegation was led to the Presidential Office by NBR President Ellings to meet with President Ma. Also attending the meeting were Secretary-General to the President Timothy Chin-Tien Yang (楊進添), National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Philip Y. M. Yang (楊永明), and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ting Joseph Shih (石定).
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