The United States congratulates President Ma Ying-jeou on his victory in Taiwan’s January 14th Presidential election. The Taiwanese people should be proud of this latest milestone for their democracy.
Since the ending of the nearly four decades of martial law in 1987, the island nation has taken dramatic steps to create a democratic political system that respects human rights, including freedom of religion, of speech, of the press and of assembly.
Today, Taiwan, with a population of 23 million living in an area of 36,000 square kilometers, is governed by a president and parliament that are freely and fairly elected by its people in multiparty elections.
Since the first direct presidential balloting by Taiwan's voters in 1996, there have been four direct elections. Maintaining strong, unofficial relations with Taiwan has been a major goal of the United States through six consecutive administrations, in line with the United States’ desire to further peace and stability in Asia.
The United States has taken strong steps to deepen relations with Taiwan, including nominating Taiwan for the Visa Waiver Program, launching new education initiatives, pursuing trade and energy initiatives, and helping Taiwan to have better access to appropriate international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Health Organization.
We share with the Taiwan people a profound interest in the continuation of cross-Strait peace and stability. We look forward to working with Mr. Ma and Taiwan’s leaders from both the Kuomintang and the Democratic Progressive parties to ensure that our strong economic and people-to-people relationship is maintained.