Republic of China Passports Now Visa-Free: Taipei Washington Relations Improve Yet Again
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
December 23, 2011
Summary: Citizens must be fair in their evaluation of political leaders. The facts show Ma Ying-jeou has improved, not worsened cross-strait relations. He has created opportunities, not erected obstacles. President Ma Ying-jeou's cross-Strait policies have improved the status quo. They have enhanced cross-Strait interaction. They have enabled the two sides to work together to create a better future with richer possibilities.
Full Text Below:
Yesterday American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Acting Director Eric H. Madison announced that the Republic of China is officially a candidate for the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. He said the Republic of China has made great social and political progress in recent years, as indicated by its economic progress. The rejection rate for Republic of China passport holders applying for visas to the United States fell to only 1.9% last year. The proportion of overstayers in the United States was even lower. Foreign Minister Yang Jin-tian responded. He said this shows that Republic of China passport security, visa rejection rates, border controls, and information sharing, all meet the requirements for visa-free treatment. He said Taipei/Washington relations will take another step forward as a result of this. This is just a major milestone for Taipei/Washington relations. It is also a major breakthrough with epoch-making significance for the Republic of China's international status and foreign relations.
Over the past few years, Republic of China citizens traveling abroad have been the recipients of much good news. In the past, Republic of China passport holders often endured discrimination. Foreign governments made things difficult for them. Now they enjoy visa-free treatment from over a hundred countries, Including the EU, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and now, the United States, Republic of China citizens are now free to visit every major country they wish. Republic of China citizens can visit most countries on the world map, without first applying for a visa. .
This is a consequence of the Republic of China's economic strength. Our passport security technology is good, Our citizens are civilized. This makes other countries welcome them. But there is another important reason that cannot be denied. In the eyes of the international community, improved cross-Strait relations have reduced tensions between Taipei and Beijing. This has enabled other countries to develop relations with Taipei. They need no longer fear a backlash from Beijing. Over the past four years, President Ma Ying-jeou has successfully promoted cross-Strait reconciliation and implemented a diplomatic truce. For the Republic of China, this has opened the gates to the international community, These changes are obvious and far-reaching, They will be part of Ma's historical legacy.
Republic of China citizens have received much good news regarding visas. There have also been many breakthroughs for the Republic of China's participation in the international community. We can now participate in the WHA as an observer. Former Vice President Lien Chan was able to attend the APEC Leaders Summit Meeting, We were able to make contact with Singapore and New Zealand, and sign the Economic Partnership Agreement. We were able to sign investment agreements and aviation agreements with Japan. What does it mean to "defend our sovereignty," to "maintain our dignity," and to "promote our national interest?" If we break it down it, means enabling Republic of China citizens to be respected when they go out into the world. It means enabling the Republic of China to be seen and heard, Isn't that what it means to "defend our sovereignty," "maintain our dignity," and "promote our national interest?"
The Republic of China's diplomatic situation and cross-Strait relations are two sides of the same coin. When cross-strait relations are tense, diplomatic confrontation often consumes large amounts of our national resources, But this kind of desperate zero sum game is increasingly difficult to play. It cannot be sustained. Mainland China's strategic advantage is growing. Republic of China citizens on Taiwan are proud. No matter how tough the going gets, we will not bow down. But bowing down is unnecessary. With wisdom and skill, we can ensure smooth cross-Strait relations while opening our doors to foreign relations. Actually, doing so will better safeguard our interests than remaining trapped in an endless cross-Strait wrestling match.
Green Camp spin doctors love to accuse Ma Ying-jeou of "selling out Taiwan's sovereignty." DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen denounced Ma Ying-jeou during the TV debate. She accused him of "halving the strength of the nation." But does her charge contain any truth whatsoever? Let's conduct a quick reality check. When the DPP was in power, it adopted a strategy of reckless provocation and blind confrontation. This led to a freeze in cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation, This turned the island of Taiwan into a hermit kingdom. This led to our marginalization in the global community. The DPP's "scorched earth diplomacy" left the diplomatic battlefield a smoking ruins. Other countries refused to be dragged into the conflict. But once President Ma Ying-jeou took office, cross-Strait reconciliation brought about economic exchanges and cooperation. It gave people on both sides a chance to freely exchange ideas and improve mutual understanding. It made possible exchanges between the Republic of China and the international community by removing a major obstacle. This gave us more breathing space. Make any "before and after comparison" you wish. We all remember how it was before, and how it is today. Does anyone really not see the immense changes that have taken place over the past three or four years?
Clearly Ma Ying-jeou has changed our cross-Strait policy. He found a way out of our past dilemma. He has a clear direction for the nation's future. He is implementing it, step by step, This is rare in a leader. Do our leaders have the ability to handle cross-Strait relations? Do they have the ability to ensure our economic development? These questions are of paramount importance.
Citizens must be fair in their evaluation of political leaders. The facts show Ma Ying-jeou has improved, not worsened cross-strait relations. He has created opportunities, not erected obstacles. President Ma Ying-jeou's cross-Strait policies have improved the status quo. They have enhanced cross-Strait interaction. They have enabled the two sides to work together to create a better future with richer possibilities.
美國在台協會（ＡＩＴ）代理處長馬怡瑞（Eric H. Madison）昨天正式宣布，台灣正式納入美國免簽證計畫候選國。他表示台灣獲致的成就，展現了這些年來台灣在經濟、社會和政治各方面的進步；台灣民眾申請美簽的拒簽率在過去一年來降到僅一．九％，在美逾期居留的比例則更低。外交部長楊進添則回應表示，這項訊息的宣布顯示台灣在護照安全、簽證拒簽率、國境管控與各項資訊分享等皆符合加入免簽證的技術要件。他也指出台美關係進展將因這項舉動邁向更進一步。我們以為這不只是台美關係的一大里程碑，對台灣的國際地位與對外關係而言，更是一大突破，具有劃時代的重大意義。