President touts diplomatic efforts at annual banquet (update)
Central News Agency
2014-02-13 10:17 PM
Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou on Thursday touted the efforts that Taiwan has made over the past year to strengthen its relations with other countries and promote regional peace. Speaking at an annual spring banquet for foreign ambassadors and representatives posted in Taiwan, Ma highlighted his administration's achievements on the diplomatic front. He pointed out that Taiwan and Japan signed an agreement in 2013 to resolve fishing disputes that had long existed between the two countries. Taiwan also began preparing for a fishing agreement with the Philippines to avoid clashes between Taiwanese fishermen and Filipino coast guards in overlapping territorial waters. And following mainland China's demarcation of an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), Ma said he called on all parties to address the dispute through peaceful means. He stressed that the Republic of China (Taiwan) will continue to resolve disputes peacefully and by following international laws. As for his diplomatic tour in August last year to Paraguay, Haiti, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and St. Kitts and Nevis, he described it as one with "important diplomatic significance," stressing that his visit to Haiti was the first time that a R.O.C. president has visited the country. On the economic front, the president said Taiwan this year will continue to adjust its industrial structure, relax restrictions on businesses, open up its market and create favorable conditions for the island to join the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). "We must join (the TPP and RCEP) to prevent from being marginalized in the process of regional economic integration," Ma said, adding that he hopes to see breakthroughs in these areas this year. He also expressed hope for continual support from and cooperation with the foreign envoys in 2014. The banquet, held shortly after the Lunar New Year holiday, was attended by representatives from Taiwan's diplomatic allies as well as from countries that do not have official ties with Taiwan, such as the United States and some European nations. At the same event, Foreign Minister David Lin outlined Taiwan's economic achievements last year. Taiwan resumed Trade and Investment Framework Agreement talks with the United States and signed economic pacts with New Zealand and Singapore, paving the way for more trade negotiations with other countries, Lin noted. He also stressed the importance Taiwan places on humanitarian aid, noting as an example that Taiwan raised funds for and sent relief supplies to the Philippines after the country was ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan late last year. On behalf of the diplomatic community in Taiwan, Ludwig Dowong Keke, ambassador of the Republic of Nauru, expressed gratitude to Taiwan for its economic and technical assistance to many of the countries in need, despite its own economic challenges. He also touted Taiwan's humanitarian efforts and said the example set by Taiwan has inspired many countries. (By Christie Chen)
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