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  • President Ma meets US Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah
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President Ma meets US Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah. President Ma welcomes visiting guests. President Ma meets US Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah. President Ma exchanges ideas with Mr. Rajiv Shah.
President Ma engages in discussion with Mr. Rajiv Shah. President Ma exchanges opinions with Mr. Rajiv Shah. President Ma takes photo with Mr. Rajiv Shah. President Ma shakes hands with Mr. Rajiv Shah.
President Ma Ying-jeou met on the morning of December 2 with Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), at the Presidential Office. The two exchanged opinions on a broad range of topics related to the experiences of the two countries in administering foreign assistance.

President Ma noted that Dr. Shah manages the foreign assistance operations of the United States and that he ranks on par with a deputy secretary of state. This is Dr. Shah's first visit to the ROC, the president said, furthermore expressing his hope to share with Dr. Shah the ROC's successful experience in providing foreign assistance.

The president remarked that the ROC is one of the few countries in the world that has transformed from being a recipient of foreign assistance to an exporter of aid, which took many years to achieve.

President Ma explained that the United States played an important role, beginning in the 1950s, in providing assistance to Taiwan. The United States provided total assistance of US$1.5 billion over about a 15-year period, and this aid was extremely beneficial to Taiwan. The United States ended its assistance to Taiwan in 1965, by which time the ROC had already begun to provide assistance to African nations in the form of agricultural technology. The nation subsequently developed a system to provide foreign assistance, and established the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF). This platform effectively integrated the nation's foreign aid resources and promoted international cooperation work on four fronts, namely investment and lending, technical cooperation, development of human resources, and humanitarian assistance, he said.

The president stressed that since taking office in May 2008, he has repeatedly stressed that the ROC, in carrying out its foreign assistance work, must "seek proper goals, act lawfully, and exercise effective administration." Failure to do so opens the door to a host of unanticipated problems and could even lead to accusations of so-called "checkbook diplomacy." The president stated that over the past three-plus years, his administration has worked hard to improve cross-strait relations, and rays of peace have begun to emerge in the Taiwan Strait. The government hopes that its efforts at reconciliation can be extended throughout the international community, thereby enabling foreign assistance to become a pillar that helps to ensure Taiwan's security.

President Ma also explained that since being sworn in as head of state in May 2008, he has sought actively to maintain close security and economic ties with the United States. He elaborated by saying that the ROC's national security strategy relies on adhering to the so-called "three lines of defense for Taiwan," namely, institutionalizing the cross-strait rapprochement, enhancing Taiwan’s contributions to international development, and aligning defense with diplomacy.

The president also took advantage of the meeting with Dr. Shah to express his gratitude to the United States government for its donation of US$250,000 to Taiwan in the wake of the widespread flooding and landslides in southern and eastern Taiwan caused by Typhoon Morakot two years ago, as well as the dispatch of large military-use helicopters that assisted in transporting people and relief to and from disaster zones. These gestures significantly aided the ROC in its rescue work. President Ma also explained that the ROC government and private charitable organizations in recent years have actively provided assistance to countries throughout the world when disaster strikes. For instance, aid was provided to the United States after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, to mainland China after the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008, to Haiti after a devastating earthquake there in 2010, and to Japan in March of this year after the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident there. Meanwhile, Taiwan provided assistance to the United States after Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast earlier this year, as well as to Thailand, which is continuing to deal with unprecedented flooding, he said.

President Ma stated that in the several-month period following the multiple disasters in Japan in March, the people of Taiwan provided over US$200 million in assistance, making it the largest donor of aid of any country. This gesture also has helped to foster even closer friendship between Taiwan and Japan. The president expressed his belief that the government's emphasis on foreign aid work is the best way to enhance friendship between Taiwan and other countries, as it helps to generate interaction between Taiwan and the international community and diminish Taiwan's isolation in the world.

Dr. Shah was accompanied to the Presidential Office in the morning by American Institute in Taiwan Taipei Office Director William A. Stanton to meet President Ma. Also attending the meeting was National Security Council Secretary-General Hu Wei-jen (胡為真).
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