By Joseph Yeh ,The China Post
President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday said the United States has been playing an important role in the history of the Republic of China for nearly one century and despite the two countries’ severed ties since 1979, the bilateral relationship remains strong and stable both economically and culturally, which will continue to benefit both sides in the years to come. Ma added that Taiwan will continue to let the American friends understand the nation’s policy, especially while the cross-strait relationship is warming, adding that the closer Taiwan-China ties will be beneficial in creating a “triple win” for the three sides. “The democratic system in the U.S. has deeply affected myself and Taiwan,” said Ma yesterday during his opening remark for the “American Footprints in Taiwan, 1950-1980” a special exhibition presented by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) that tells the stories of U.S. interaction with Taiwan in the key era of 1950 to 1980.
The president noted that his 70-day-trip to the U.S. during his college days under a U.S. Department of State-sponsored program had given him a glimpse of the country’s world-renowned democracy and freedom.
It is also because of the assistance offered by the Americans in Taiwan during the most critical stages of the nation in the 1950s to 80s that helped the nation to set up the foundation for future development, for which he felt deep appreciation, Ma added. During the opening ceremony of the exhibition, AIT director William Stanton noted that even though his country had given assistance to Taiwan, it is because of the hard work and determination of the people here that Taiwan managed to achieve tremendous strides in democratic and economic developments. A model of AIT’s new office in Neihu is also making its debut at the exhibition, which shows that Taiwan and the U.S.’ relationship will continue to grow in the future, he added. The items on display in the exhibition include 180 photographs, 68 historic artifacts and 20 video interviews conducted by AIT staff with people from Taiwan and the U.S. talking about their memories of that period. The interviewees include Ma and Cloud Gate Founder Lin Hwai-min.
A special quest to yesterday’s opening ceremony was 84-year-old Patricia Linder, wife of the late Rear Admiral James Linder, who was the last Commander of the U.S. Taiwan Defense Command.
She said that she couldn’t imagine that she could come back to Taiwan after 30 years and she was deeply proud of the people here who showed strength and vitality to make the island nation a state famous for free democracy.
The exhibition in Taipei will be on display in the National Central Library until Jan. 24, 2011 and will run in both Tainan and Taichung later.