Sun, Jan 15, 2012 - Page 3 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: US congratulates Ma, touts democratic process

Staff Writer

A supporter of President Ma Ying-jeou wears a Republic of Taiwan face mask as he watches the election results at Ma‘s campaign headquarters in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: AARON TAM / AFP

The White House press secretary yesterday issued a statement congratulating President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on his re-election and praising Taiwanese on the successful conduct of their presidential and legislative elections.

“Through the hard work of its people and its remarkable economic and political development over the past decades, Taiwan has proven to be one of the great success stories in Asia,” the press release said.

“In this year’s elections, Taiwan has again demonstrated the strength and vitality of its democratic system. We are confident Taiwan will build on its many accomplishments, and we will continue to work together to advance our many common interests, including expanding trade and investment ties,” it said.

Turning to relations in the Taiwan Strait, the press release said it hoped the trend toward lowered tensions would continue.

“Cross-strait peace, stability and improved relations, in an environment free from intimidation, are of profound importance to the United States,” it said. “We hope the impressive efforts that both sides have undertaken in recent years to build cross-strait ties continue.”

“Such ties and stability in cross-strait relations have also benefitted [sic] U.S.-Taiwan relations,” it said.

“The relationship between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan is based on common interests and a shared commitment to freedom and democracy. As we have done for more than 30 years, we will maintain our close unofficial ties with the people on Taiwan through the American Institute in Taiwan and according to our one China policy based on the three Joint Communiques with the People’s Republic of China and the Taiwan Relations Act,” the release said.

While the US Department of State had no official reaction immediately following the result, a senior Washington diplomat talking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject said the elections were free, fair and democratic.

“On that score we could not be happier,” the official said. “The people of Taiwan have spoken and they have re-elected their president. He is someone we can work with and we will work closely with him, but if the opposition leader had been victorious, we would have worked just as hard with her.”

“This is a good day for Taiwan because the real victor is democracy,” the official said.

Additional reporting by William Lowther

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