American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Christopher Marut yesterday described the “strong ties of partnership” of the US and Taiwan as “delicious mangoes” as the institute held a reception to celebrate the 237th anniversary of US independence.
Marut on Monday visited Cheng Han-chih (鄭罕池), who made Yujing District (玉井) in Greater Tainan famous as the home of the mango, and the site where the first Irwin mango tree was planted in Taiwan 51 years ago. The 84-year-old Cheng, dubbed the father of the Irwin mango, in 1962 grafted samplings from Irwin mango trees in Florida onto native Taiwanese mango trees, making the species the most popular type of mango both at home and overseas.
In his speech at the reception, Marut yesterday said the experiment by Cheng, assisted at that time by the US Agency for International Development, resulted in the successful commercial production of Irwin mangoes and the “delicious mangoes” are “literally a fruit of the strong ties of partnership” between Taiwan an the US.
Marut said the values upon which the US was founded, such as freedom and democracy, are shared by Taiwanese and underpin the enduring friendship and strong bonds that define bilateral relations.
“We look forward to continuing to work together to nurture, protect and promote the values of freedom, respect for the dignity of individuals and economic and environmental progress,” he added.
Several officials attended the event, including former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), National Security Council Secretary-General Jason Yuan (袁健生), Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) and a number of diplomats in Taiwan.
On behalf of the government of the Republic of China (ROC), Lin expressed his good wishes to the US and said he expected the friendship to endure.
Lin said the ROC government would continue to enhance its substantial cooperation with the US on various issues — trade, security, culture, education and technology — in the service of freedom and democracy.