Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Taiwan’s chief representative speaks at Stanford

After eight years of surprises, Taiwan’s top diplomat said on May 4th that his first priority is to restore mutual trust with Washington, DC. Speaking with Dr. Larry Diamond, the director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University, Taiwan’s chief US representative, Jason Yuan, addressed some 50 scholars, students and political observers during his Bay Area stop.

After taking office last May, President Ma Ying-jeou worked to restore mutual trust with the US. Instead of a big splash, he kept a low profile when he made his US transit stops on his way to and from Latin American last August. In cross-strait matters, Ma has strived for rapprochement with China by resuming high-level talks between Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and Beijing’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS). As a result, Yuan said, Taiwan has been invited to take part in the forthcoming World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer. After trying to gain participation since 1997, Taiwan will finally be included.

In response to questions about the possibility of signing a 60-year peace treaty with China and how the island’s 23 million Taiwanese would react, Yuan said if there were to be a treaty, the first condition would be that China should remove the missiles along the Taiwan Strait - now estimated to number more than 1000. Ma doesn’t expect to see the day of unification, the peace treaty will not necessarily lead to unification or independence. The future would be decided by all of Taiwan’s people, not by any single political leader, stressed Yuan.

This is one of the latest events by the Program on Democracy in Taiwan, which is sponsored by the CDDRL, in conjunction with the Hoover Institution. Initiated in the fall of 2005, the program studies the political and social changes, and international challenges confronting democracy in Taiwan, including cross-strait relations.

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About Me

The Press Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco represents the Government Information Office (GIO), Executive Yuan, Republic of China (Taiwan). GIO maintains nine Press Divisions in the United States, including the San Francisco office. The Press Divisions are in charge of promoting Taiwan's public relations and cultural exchanges. This blog is updated by the Press Division, TECO in San Francisco.