President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said that non-governmental exchanges between Taiwan and the US are a key effort in strengthening bilateral ties.
Speaking at the launch of the US-Taiwan Policy Forum, Ma said that relations between the two countries are at their best since diplomatic ties were severed in 1979, noting that Washington has described Taiwan as an important economic and security partner on many occasions in recent years.
Pushing those ties further will require continued cooperation across various sectors, a role that falls on non-governmental organizations and the public, he said.
Ma pointed to the reduced number of Taiwanese students being educated in the US as an area that could be improved.
The US-Taiwan Policy Forum is a joint project of the Taipei Forum Foundation and the Washington-based Brookings Institution.
A ceremony was also held to celebrate the establishment of the Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies, a Brookings program.
Former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) chairman Richard Bush, now the director of the Brookings Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies, will be the program’s first chair holder.
Acting AIT director Brent Christensen, who was also at the ceremony, praised the longstanding cooperative relationship between Taiwan and the US based on a mutual commitment to democracy and freedom.
He said that the US attaches a high value to its special, mutually beneficial relationship with Taiwan.