Since President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan took office in 2008, the Republic of China in Taiwan (ROC) government has been striving for the improvement in cross-Strait relations (“Drifting toward crisis on Taiwan,” Web, July 29). Over the past seven years the two sides across the Strait have held 10 rounds of talks and signed 21 agreements, attaining a level of peace and stability unprecedented in the past 66 years.
The achievement has elicited wide domestic and international commendation and support, including from U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel, who stated in his remarks at a hearing on Taiwan Relations Act in Congress in April last year that “[a]s a general matter, we very much welcome and applaud the extraordinary progress that has occurred in cross-Strait relations under the Ma administration.”
Only 100 nautical miles away from the island, mainland China is surely Taiwan’s biggest source of potential risk, yet also its biggest opportunity. With increasing economic and trade interactions between the two sides, Taiwan always exercises caution by pursuing a policy of “minimizing the risk and maximizing the opportunities.”
For a sustainable peace across the Strait, the ROC government will continue to institutionalize the positive interactions with the mainland and enhance mutual understanding and trust. At the same time, it remains determined and prepared for self-defense, as evidenced by the fact that ROC has purchased $18.3 billion of American-made defense articles during President Ma’s seven-year administration. We do not intend to actually use these arms, but they are a necessary deterrent to keep Taiwan from “drifting toward crisis.”
It may also be said that we have another layer of strong defense: our democratic way of life. This is based on a respect for human rights and our successful pursuit of a booming economy rooted in free enterprise with the spirit of hard work and fair competition.
FRANK YEE WANG
Director, Press Division
Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.