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Foreign Policy Report, 8th Congress of the Legislative Yuan, 5th Session (March 12, 2014)

  • Date:2014-03-12
  • Data Source:Department of Policy Planning

Foreign Policy Report

I. Foreword
Honorable Chair and Members of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee: Good morning!

It is an honor for me to have been invited today to come and give a briefing to the Foreign and National Defense Committee on the diplomatic work that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has undertaken of late. On behalf of MOFA, I would like to extend my appreciation to President Wang Jin-pyng, Vice President Hung Hsiu-chu, and all other members of the Legislative Yuan for the advice provided and concern shown over our foreign affairs, as well as for their enthusiastic participation in parliamentary diplomacy.

The foreign policy of the Republic of China is aimed at safeguarding our national sovereignty and security, and creating an international environment conducive to the nation’s sustainable development. To this end, the government is promoting the policy of “viable diplomacy,” while adhering to the principles of “dignity, autonomy, pragmatism, and flexibility.” This has created a virtuous cycle between cross-strait reconciliation and viable diplomacy. As a result, we have consolidated our friendships with our diplomatic allies, bolstered substantive ties with countries with which we do not have formal ties, and enhanced our international participation. Looking back over the past year, we have notched up a good number of successes. In February last year, the Agreement on Privileges, Exemptions, and Immunities between Taiwan and the US was signed. In March, we resumed high-level economic and trade consultations under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) after a hiatus of more than six years. In April, Taiwan and Japan inked a fisheries agreement, settling a dispute that had dragged on for years. In May, we took part in the World Health Assembly (WHA) for the fifth year in a row. In July, we signed a Taiwan-New Zealand economic cooperation agreement (ANZTEC). In August, we peacefully resolved a fisheries dispute with the Philippines. In September, Director-General of the Civil Aeronautics Administration Shen Chi was invited for the first time to participate in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly. In October, former Vice President Vincent Siew attended the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, where he held extensive discussions with leaders from other economies on various issues of concern. In November, we signed an economic partnership agreement with Singapore (ASTEP). And in December, we provided assistance to the Philippines and Palau after a typhoon disaster in keeping with our spirit as a provider of humanitarian aid. Then, in January this year, President Ma Ying-jeou visited three of our allies in Africa and Latin America, and made transits in Frankfurt, Germany, and Los Angeles, the United States, highlighting the positive results of head-of-state diplomacy. Last month, we signed a working holiday agreement with Hungary, the 10th country to do so with Taiwan. In addition, the number of countries and territories that grant ROC passport holders visa-waiver or landing-visa treatment has jumped from 54 to 133 over the past five years. This has afforded greater convenience and respect for our citizens traveling abroad. All these achievements have come about as a result of the concerted efforts of both the governing and opposition parties, and bear testimony to the fact that our viable diplomacy policy has created more space on the international stage for the ROC.

Today, I will be discussing the current international climate, the viable diplomacy policy and its successes, as well as future prospects for and the direction of our foreign diplomacy. Your comments and suggestions will be very much appreciated.

II. The current international landscape
1. The impact of recent developments in Ukraine on international relations
Recent political developments in Ukraine have caused concern around the globe. After pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by the Ukrainian parliament, opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk became acting prime minister of the interim government. This provoked Russian military intervention, with troops being dispatched to the Crimean Peninsula. The G7 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany, have all denounced Russia’s actions. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin, commenting on Russia-Ukraine relations, insisted that Russia reserves the right to use all means to protect Ukrainian citizens and Russian-speaking people in Ukraine. The United States and EU countries are currently trying to diffuse the crisis peacefully through diplomatic mediation. US President Barack Obama, meanwhile, has twice spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone, but unfortunately no consensus has been reached yet.

Ukraine is in a strategically important location between Russia and NATO countries. Russia stations its Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean region, considers military security there to be one of its key national interests, and would never tolerate ceding control. The Crimean parliament will hold a referendum on March 16 to decide which direction it will go in. Amid the unrest, meanwhile, Ukraine has already set May 25 as the date for a general election. The results of both the Crimean referendum and the Ukrainian election will no doubt influence Russia’s relations with NATO and the EU, as well as Russia-US relations. It could even have ramifications for the global balance of power in the post-Cold War era. We have called on all parties concerned to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence, and democracy, and urged the parties to begin negotiations as soon as possible in order to peacefully resolve disputes in accordance with international law. MOFA and its missions abroad will continue to closely monitor the situation in Ukraine, draft response strategies based on the latest developments, and adopt such measures as protecting the safety of our compatriots, tourists, and students in Ukraine, if necessary.

2. East Asian security and the air defense identification zones continue to be causes for concern
Tensions in East Asia are rising due to instability on the Korean Peninsula brought about by North Korea’s nuclear threat, as well as the deteriorating situation in the East China Sea. Since Japan unilaterally announced on September 11, 2012, that it had nationalized the Diaoyutai Islands, mainland China and Japan have confronted each other in the waters and airspace of the East China Sea on many occasions. On November 23 last year, mainland China also announced the establishment of an East China Sea air defense identification zone (ADIZ), which was followed by an announcement by the Republic of Korea that it was expanding its own ADIZ. These actions have caused great concern among neighboring countries, such as Taiwan, Japan, the US, Australia, and the Philippines, and have ratcheted up tensions in the East China Sea. In addition, disputes among neighboring countries in the South China Sea, and the actions that some countries have taken—strengthening maritime law enforcement, for example—are also a source of concern. Should the airspace security issue also spill over into the South China Sea area, it will complicate matters even further.

The situation in both the East China Sea and the South China Sea is having a severe impact on regional peace and stability. Our government will continue to pay close attention to developments and promote the East China Sea Peace Initiative. In his opening remarks at the International Conference on Peace and Security in East Asia on February 26 this year, President Ma delivered the Statement on East China Sea Airspace Security in response to the latest developments, calling on all parties concerned to abide by international law, as well as to seek peaceful resolutions to disputes and initiate bilateral talks at the earliest possibility to resolve the issue of overlapping ADIZs. He also encouraged the parties to create a multilateral regional mechanism, and come together to negotiate the formulation of the East China Sea Code of Conduct,which would cover both maritime space and airspace, so as to promote sustainable peace and long-lasting cooperation in the area. His statement was well received by the countries involved. As of today, 22 news reports covering his statement have appeared in foreign media, including Yumiuri Shimbun in Japan, the German Press Agency, Agency France-Presse, and so on. I believe President Ma’s statement will contribute to regional stability and peace.

As for the recent incident in which Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 mysteriously vanished en route to Beijing, Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Anifah Aman has expressed that his government welcomes “assistance from other countries and international organizations in the search and rescue operations.” On March 9, President Ma instructed the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) to send vessels to provide assistance. Navy vessels and Air Force transport planes left for the South China Sea on March 10 on a search and rescue mission. Meanwhile, the MND has also instructed its vessels and aircraft operating in the vicinity of the South China Sea to expand the hunt for debris on the sea surface. MOFA will continue to monitor developments and provide appropriate assistance where necessary, so as to fulfill our obligations as a provider of humanitarian aid.

3. Regional economic integration maintains momentum
Countries around the world are actively promoting regional economic integration and negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs). The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) hold the most significance for Taiwan. A ministerial-level meeting for the TPP just ended in Singapore in February this year. While some progress was made at the meeting, certain differences remain and no definite date for finalizing the agreement has been given. February also saw the conclusion of the third round of the RCEP negotiations. The participating countries made limited but significant progress, agreeing to have completed negotiations by 2015. The fourth round of negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the European Union is already underway, with good progress made during the three previous rounds.

Faced with the trend of regional economic integration, our country will run into serious trouble if we are unable to keep with the pace and, as a result, our industries will lose their ability to compete on an equal footing in regional markets around the globe. Our economy relies heavily on external trade and will suffer severely. To date, in addition to signing follow-up pacts to the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with mainland China, we have concluded the ANZTEC with New Zealand and the ASTEP with Singapore. Even though we still lag behind other countries, this has already created conditions favorable for our accession to such regional economic partnership agreements as the TPP and the RCEP. Following President Ma’s directive, MOFA has put acceding to the TPP and the RCEP as a top diplomatic priority, and has started consultations with other countries on becoming involved in the various forms of regional economic integration as soon as possible. On February 17, 2014, in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), MOFA also held the Strategic Planning Seminar on Taiwan’s Bid to Participate in the TPP and the RCEP. ROC ambassadors and economic advisers stationed in the 17 TPP and RCEP member states were recalled to Taiwan to take part. They were briefed on their assignments, and given a clear understanding of the government’s resolute determination to become party to the TPP and the RCEP, as well as to expand bilateral trade and economic cooperation. They conferred with one another to formulate concrete and feasible strategies and approaches.

III. The viable diplomacy policy and related accomplishments
The viable diplomacy policy that the government began implementing in 2008 has not only created an environment conducive to the development of cross-strait relations, but also laid a solid foundation for consolidating our sovereignty, expanding our international space, and maintaining sustainable national development. We have stayed firm friends with our diplomatic allies, elevated our relations with countries with which we do not have diplomatic relations, and expanded our international space, demonstrating that viable diplomacy is indeed the right way to go. Specific achievements are as follows:

1. Consolidating relations with our diplomatic allies
In November last year, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh unilaterally decided to sever diplomatic ties with the ROC. MOFA heeded the warning, and immediately took stock of our relations with all of our remaining diplomatic allies, including mutual visits of high-ranking officials, interactions between our embassies and high-ranking officials in the host countries, the implementation of cooperation projects, support for our international participation, and so forth. The friendly ties we enjoy with our diplomatic allies remain stable at present. In the future, we will be even more attentive, effective, and proactive in carrying out the viable diplomacy policy.

(1) Enhancing mutual visits by high-ranking officials and deepening friendships
i. On January 23, President Ma Ying-jeou departed with a delegation for state visits to São Tomé and Príncipe and Burkina Faso, before heading to Honduras to attend the presidential inauguration. President of São Tomé and Príncipe Manuel Pinto da Costa, President of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaore, and both former President Porfirio Lobo and President-elect Juan Orlando Hernandez welcomed President Ma in person at the respective airports. They exchanged views with President Ma on the development of bilateral relations and future cooperation projects, and also expressed their willingness to continue supporting Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations and related activities. In addition, President Ma made transits in Frankfurt and Los Angeles. His chartered plane flew through Russian airspace before landing at Frankfurt Airport for a refueling stop, the first such transit in Germany. Talks between Taiwan and the US on the arrangement of activities during the president’s brief stopover in the US went smoothly, underscoring the mutual trust that exists between the two sides.
ii. In December last year, I myself led a delegation to Nicaragua to host the Regional Meeting of Heads of Overseas Missions in Latin America and the Caribbean. I discussed with ROC ambassadors and representatives in the region such issues as how to consolidate our friendships with our diplomatic allies and forge closer ties with other countries. During my stay, I also met with high-ranking officials in the Nicaraguan government and exchanged in-depth views on issues of mutual concern.
iii. Since September last year, a number of heads of state and other high-level officials from our diplomatic allies have led delegations to Taiwan. They include: President Baron Divavesi Waqa and the First Lady of the Republic of Nauru; President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. and Foreign Minister Billy Kuartei of the Republic of Palau; Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo and Mrs. Lilo of the Solomon Islands; Prime Minister Denzil Llewellyn Douglas of St. Christopher and Nevis; Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga and Mrs. Sopoaga, as well as Foreign Minister Taukelina Finikaso and Mrs. Finikaso, of Tuvalu; Prime Minister Gabriel Arcanjo Ferreira Da Costa and Mrs. Da Costa of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe; Prime Minister Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Labour, Justice and Legal Affairs Patrice D.H. Nisbett, as well as Attorney General Jason Hamilton and Mrs. Hamilton, of St. Christopher and Nevis; Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Santos López and Mrs. Santos of Nicaragua; Legislative Assembly President Sigfrido Reyes of El Salvador; National Assembly President Soungalo Appolinaire Ouattara and Mrs. Ouattara of Burkina Faso; Speaker Themba Msibi of the House of Assembly of the Kingdom of Swaziland; and President of the Chamber of Senators Julio César Valázquez Tillería and Mrs. Valázquez, as well as President of the Chamber of Deputies Juan Bartolomé Ramírez, of Paraguay. These visits have deepened our mutual understanding and boosted bilateral relations.

(2) Institutionalizing foreign aid and benefiting people in our allies
i. In conjunction with the ideals of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, we are committed to carrying out our foreign aid policy in accordance with the principles of seeking proper goals, acting lawfully, and exercising effective administration. By working closely with both the public and private sectors in our diplomatic allies, we assist these countries with building basic infrastructure that has a positive effect on people’s livelihoods, as well as with raising standards of healthcare and education, and improving their overall quality of life.
ii. By implementing six regulations, including the Regulations Governing the Technical Assistance and Capacity Building of International Cooperation and Development Affairs, MOFA has managed to put in place a sound legal foundation for providing foreign aid. MOFA also compiles Taiwan’s foreign aid statistics in its Official Development Assistance (ODA) database, and reports these to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). And in accordance with the stipulations contained in our International Cooperation and Development Act, MOFA then submits its Annual Report on International Cooperation and Development Affairs to the Legislative Yuan every year, via the Executive Yuan, for reference. These measures have lent transparency to our foreign aid work.
iii. Besides providing aid to our diplomatic allies in such areas as conventional farming, horticulture, and vocational training, we are also doing more to leverage our strengths in such industries as information and communications technology, healthcare, and science and technology. We have, for instance, promoted a satellite imaging and geographical information systems (GIS) technological cooperation program in Nicaragua, a clean energy project in our six Pacific Island allies, as well as Papua New Guinea, a program to train clinicians in the Pacific Islands, and the Light for Africa project to promote literacy in Africa. All of these ventures have been warmly welcomed.

2. Enhancing substantive relations with non-diplomatic allies
(1) Relations with the United States
The ROC government has promoted relations with the US using a “low key, surprise free” approach, further strengthening bilateral security and economic cooperation.
i. The US has publicly recognized the development of Taiwan-US relations: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kin Moy stressed publicly that building a comprehensive, long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship between the US and Taiwan is a critical part of the US strategy. He also stated that Taiwan has been, and will continue to be, an important partner of the US, and reiterated US support for efforts to increase Taiwan's international participation and improve cross-strait relations. He added that the US remains committed to selling arms to Taiwan. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also called President Ma during his transit stop in the US earlier this year, and praised Taiwan as a stable security partner.
ii. Economic relations growing closer: At the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting last year, former Vice President Vincent Siew held bilateral talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry, and exchanged views with him on Taiwan’s future participation in the TPP. Former Vice President Siew also led a delegation of Taiwan business leaders to the US, which was well received. This delegation successfully promoted the signing of a bilateral investment agreement with the US, as well as Taiwan’s participation in the TPP. In the future, we will keep in close contact with the US and actively urge the US to support Taiwan’s participation in the TPP.
iii. The US has recognized Taiwan-US cooperation on security matters: The US has affirmed Taiwan’s approach to settling disputes in the East China Sea peacefully. AIT Director Christopher Marut issued a statement commending Taiwan’s response to mainland China’s declaration of an ADIZ over the East China Sea and emphasizing the close cooperation between Taiwan and the US. US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel R. Russel, in a hearing before the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, affirmed President Ma’s East China Sea Peace Initiative and stated that its principles of respect for international law and peaceful resolution of disputes are in line with US strategic interests.
iv. Visits by US officials: Between September of last year and February of this year, Taiwan welcomed 72 US delegations, consisting of 529 people. These included former high-ranking government officials such as former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell; former Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg; President of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. John Hamre; former Commander of the US Pacific Command Admiral Robert Willard; and former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. Congressmen visiting Taiwan included Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA); Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Steve Chabot (R-OH); Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade Brad Sherman (D-CA); Congressional Taiwan Caucus Co-chair John Carter (R-TX); and Representatives Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). In addition, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, Arizona Governor Janice Brewer, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal visited Taiwan. These visits highlighted the close relationship between the ROC and the US.

(2) Relations with the European Union
The ROC has taken a multi-faceted, multi-layered, and multi-channel approach to deepening its relations with the EU and its member countries. Under the framework of the Taiwan-EU Annual Consultation, we have made progress in strengthening cooperation and exchanges in such areas as economy and trade, culture and education, science and technology, human rights, judicial matters, nuclear safety, and climate change.

i. Resolutions and statements of the European Parliament (EP) and EU supporting Taiwan:
(i) On October 9 of last year, the EP passed a resolution on EU-Taiwan trade relations that urged the European Commission to initiate negotiations with Taiwan on investment protection and market access agreements. This marked the first time that the EP had passed a resolution specifically targeting Taiwan-EU economic and trade relations, making it especially meaningful.
(ii) On October 24 of last year, the EP passed a resolution on the annual Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) report, expressing support for the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, Taiwan’s international participation, the signing of a Taiwan-EU economic cooperation agreement, and efforts to further enhance bilateral cooperation. This marked the fifth time the EP passed a resolution on the CFSP report that was friendly to Taiwan.
(iii) The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, issued a statement in September last year, welcoming Taiwan’s participation in the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The EU also issued a statement on February 11 this year, recognizing the meeting between the heads of the cross-strait affairs offices of Taiwan and mainland China.

ii. Establishment of institutionalized bilateral consultations with the EU and its member states: The 25th Taiwan-EU Annual Consultation meeting took place in Taipei in December last year. The two sides exchanged views on such topics as human rights, science and technology, culture and education, climate change, the fishing industry, nuclear safety, homeland security, cybersecurity, counter-piracy efforts, and Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations. In addition, we continue to hold consultations with such countries as the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.

(3) Relations with major European countries
i. Relations with Germany
(i) An agreement on the transfer of convicts between Taiwan and Germany was signed in November last year and entered into force on February 7 this year. Signed in accordance with the ROC's Transfer of Sentenced Persons Act, this bilateral judicial administration cooperation accord was the first convict transfer agreement between Taiwan and a European country, making it particularly meaningful.
(ii) Enhancing mutual trust and support: In September last year, 67 members of Germany's Bundestag from different political parties co-signed a statement supporting our meaningful participation in ICAO.

ii. Relations with the United Kingdom
(i) Taiwan and the UK have signed MOUs with regard to cooperation on intellectual property rights and the Taiwan 2050 Pathways Calculator. Taiwan and the UK also signed an MOU on extradition for the Zain Taj Dean case, marking a milestone in Taiwan-UK judicial cooperation. It was also the first extradition document we signed with a non-diplomatic ally.
(ii) MOFA facilitated cooperation between Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control and Public Health England (PHE), working under the framework of the WHO Cooperation Center project to develop application software for medical management and monitoring of mass gatherings. This has created a new model for Taiwan’s substantive participation in international medical cooperation under the WHO.
iii. Signing bilateral cooperation agreements with other European countries: On February 21 this year, we signed a working holiday agreement with Hungary, the fifth European country with which we concluded such a pact following Germany, the UK, Ireland and Belgium, as well as the 10th country worldwide. In September last year, we also signed an MOU on economic cooperation and development with Hungary, as well as an MOU on the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Mottainai with Spain. In November, the MOU on cooperation concerning intellectual property rights between Taiwan and the Czech Republic was extended for another three years.
iv. Between September 2013 and February 2014, MOFA welcomed 48 European delegations consisting of 202 people.

(4) Relations with Japan
i. Promoting bilateral trade and economic cooperation: In November last year, we signed six agreements or MOUs with Japan on e-commerce, priority document exchange (PDX), medical product regulations, railroad services, maritime and airborne search and rescue, and financial services monitoring. These accords have enhanced Taiwan-Japan relations in a variety of fields. Economic and trade ties between Taiwan and Japan have grown significantly in recent years. Both sides continue to promote the signing of economic and trade accords using a building-block approach. In the future, we will continue to strengthen bilateral exchanges and cooperation, particularly with regard to regional economic integration.
ii. Follow-up negotiations on the Taiwan-Japan fisheries agreement: On April 10 of last year, the Taiwan-Japan fisheries agreement was signed as a direct result of the East China Sea Peace Initiative. Both sides successfully shelved disputes and achieved resource sharing through peaceful dialogue and rational negotiations. The third meeting of the Joint Fisheries Committee was held in January this year, in which operational regulations were formulated for areas designated by the Taiwan-Japan fisheries agreement, aiming to avoid disputes between fishing boats operating in these areas and to immediately settle disputes once they occur, in line with the spirit of friendship and reciprocity embodied in the agreement.
iii. High-ranking Japanese officials have recognized Taiwan-Japan relations: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, when meeting with the Taiwan Leader's Representative—former Vice President Vincent Siew—at the APEC summit last year, expressed his gratitude for Taiwan’s generosity and kindness following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and recognized the Taiwan-Japan fisheries agreement. He also stressed that Taiwan is an important partner of Japan, and expressed his hope that the two countries will continue to conduct bilateral exchanges in various fields, so as to deepen and expand bilateral relations.
iv. Promoting cultural exchanges: More than 200 items from the National Palace Museum's (NPM) collection will be showcased at the Tokyo National Museum and the Kyushu National Museum in June and October, respectively. Japan will be the first Asian country to hold exhibitions of NPM artifacts, marking a significant milestone in cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Japan.
v. From September last year to January this year, MOFA welcomed 147 Japanese delegations consisting of 1,587 people, including Shinjiro Koizumi, member of the House of Representatives and head of the Liberal Democratic Party Youth Division; Takeo Hiranuma, member of the House of Representatives and head of the Japanese delegation to the ROC National Day; and Takao Fujii, Secretary General of the Japan-ROC Diet Members’ Consultative Council.

(5) Relations with other major countries in the Asia-Pacific region
i. Relations with the Republic of Korea
(i) In September of last year, Taiwan and the Republic of Korea signed an MOU with regard to cooperation on meteorological and seismic technology. In the meantime, MOFA continues to exchange views with the ROK government on the feasibility of a bilateral FTA, and explore the possibility of signing an investment protection agreement and an agreement on mutual judicial assistance in criminal matters, with the aim of promoting bilateral trade and judicial cooperation.
(ii) In October last year, Taiwan became a founding member of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB)—an international intergovernmental organization based in Seoul— under the name “Taiwan, ROC,” and sent representatives to attend the inaugural assembly of A-WEB, as well as the sixth Global Electoral Organization Conference, which was organized by the National Electoral Commission of the ROK.

ii. Relations with Australia
(i) Communication channels with Australia at the vice-minister and director-general levels are operating smoothly: Taiwan and Australia continue to hold bilateral economic consultation meetings. In addition, Deputy Minister Ting Joseph Shih held bilateral talks with Australian officials when he attended the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in September last year, exchanging views on cooperation between Taiwan and Australia with regard to providing aid to the Asia-Pacific region.
(ii) Further enhancing bilateral economic consultations and cooperation meetings: The 19th Joint Energy and Mineral Trade and Investment Cooperation Consultations and the 27th Taiwan-Australia Business Consultative Conference were held at the end of October last year. The two sides will continue to strengthen exchanges in such areas as energy and mineral resource policies, trade and investment, clean energy, and possible future projects.

iii. Relations with India
(i) Promoting the signing of an ECA to boost bilateral economic and trade ties: Private think tanks in Taiwan and India completed a feasibility study last September on the signing of an ECA between the two countries. The research points out that six industries in Taiwan and India are highly complementary, creating significant potential for future cooperation. MOFA will therefore continue to hold consultations with India in the hope of signing an ECA as soon as possible.
(ii) Deepening bilateral economic and trade ties: Taiwan and India have signed agreements on the avoidance of double taxation, customs cooperation, and ATA Carnet, which are conducive to deepening substantive economic and trade ties between the two countries.
(iii) Promoting cultural and education exchanges: MOFA has promoted the signing of an MOU on cultural cooperation between Taiwan and India, with the aim of establishing a mechanism for cultural exchanges between the two nations. In addition, last October, MOFA assisted the Ten Drum Art Percussion Group in arranging a trip to India. The troupe gave several performances, which were well received by Indian audiences, demonstrating the results of cultural exchanges between the two countries.

iv. Relations with ASEAN nations
(i) Signing bilateral agreements and holding bilateral meetings: Bilateral agreements signed between Taiwan and ASEAN countries include accords between Taiwan and Thailand on cooperation in combating transnational economic crime and on educational cooperation, a pact between Taiwan and Indonesia on agricultural technology cooperation, an agreement between Taiwan and the Philippines on mutual judicial assistance in criminal matters, and an accord between Taiwan and Vietnam on cooperation concerning immigration issues. In addition, several bilateral meetings were held between Taiwan and ASEAN countries, including the 19th ministerial economic cooperation meeting between Taiwan and the Philippines and the seventh meeting on labor between Taiwan and Indonesia.
(ii) Providing assistance to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan: Last November, provinces in the central Philippines were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, causing severe damage. The ROC government immediately donated US$200,000 and arranged for military planes and vessels to transport a total of 680 tons in relief supplies—worth US$12 million—to the Philippines, making Taiwan one of the first countries to respond to the disaster, as well as one of the largest providers of relief supplies. Philippine Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras publicly commended the ROC for being the first country to deliver relief supplies to affected areas.

(6) Relations with West Asian and African nations
i. Relations with Russia
(i) First Lady Chow Mei-ching again visited Russia last year. During her visit, she was accorded every courtesy, as well as satisfactory security arrangements.
(ii) Agreement on aviation services: After 20 years of negotiations, Taiwan and Russia signed an agreement on aviation services in Taipei last October. It is hoped that direct flights in the future will promote people-to-people exchanges and enhance economic ties between the two countries, thereby enhancing bilateral cooperation.
(iii) Members of the State Duma friendly to us issued a special report on Taiwan: Last year, members of Russia's State Duma friendly to us issued a special report on Taiwan, supporting Taiwan’s position on the Diaoyutai Islands, as well as its East China Sea Peace Initiative. It also applauded Taiwan’s achievements and called on the Russian government to promote cooperation with Taiwan. This marked the first time a special report on Taiwan was presented at the State Duma, attracting the attention of the Russian government and major media outlets.

ii. Emirates launched flights to Taipei on February 10 this year: His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates and head of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, led a delegation that traveled to Taiwan on the inaugural Emirates' flight, helping to create opportunities for future cooperation.

(7) Relations with Latin American nations
i. Relations with Mexico
(i) Promoting bilateral cooperation projects: MOFA supports projects coordinated by the First Lady of Mexico, including a plan to renew computers for mentally disabled children with mental disabilities under the National System for Integral Family Development. In addition, MOFA supports a beauty salon training project aimed at teenage girls under the State System for Integral Family Development in Colima.
(ii) Promoting bilateral trade and economic ties: Mexico has responded positively to Taiwan’s proposal to strengthen bilateral trade and exchanges. MOFA will continue to consult with Mexico with regard to the signing of bilateral cooperation agreements and MOUs, and seek Mexico’s support for Taiwan’s bid to take part in TPP negotiations.
(iii) Seeking better visa treatment for ROC nationals: Last October, several members of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies proposed to relevant government agencies that visa application procedures for ROC nationals visiting Mexico be waived.

ii. Relations with Brazil
(i) Mutual visits by economic and trade officials aimed at enhancing substantive bilateral relations: Several economic and trade officials from Brazil visited Taiwan last year, which helped promote exchanges and interactions between the two countries and deepen our substantive economic and trade ties.
(ii) Support from the National Congress of Brazil for Taiwan’s participation in international organizations: The committee on the environment, consumer rights and financial affairs of the Federal Senate and the committee on environmental sustainability of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil have expressed their support for Taiwan’s participation in the UNFCCC.

iii. Others:
Through the APEC Digital Opportunity Center (ADOC) project, Taiwan has used its strengths and resources in ICT to assist a number of countries, including Peru, Chile, and Mexico, in establishing 16 digital centers, run training courses, promote digital learning, and narrow the digital divide, with many substantive results. In addition, since last September, MOFA has received 11 Latin American delegations (from countries that do not maintain diplomatic ties with the ROC), consisting of 23 people.

3. Pragmatic participation in international organizations
(1) World Trade Organization (WTO)
i. Certain WTO members, including the United States, Australia, and European Union countries, formed the Really Good Friend of Services (RGF), an informal negotiation platform, to discuss how to further promote the liberalization of the service industry. Taiwan has also been a member of the RGF since its establishment. The RGF later proposed a trade in services agreement (TISA), and formal talks began last year in June. The TISA should be considered a multilateral FTA on trade in services with our major trade partners that will help expand our foreign economic and trade relations, and facilitate our integration into the regional economy. In addition, Taiwan participated in the ninth WTO Ministerial Conference, which was held in Indonesia, and helped build consensus on the Bali Package, thereby reducing the costs involved in Taiwan’s external trade.

ii. We seek to strengthen our relations with the WTO through a variety of channels. For instance, we are bidding to host in Taiwan a seminar on rules of origin, and have made a donation to the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund. The WTO has announced that the total amount of Taiwan’s donations ranks third among developing country members, showing Taiwan’s readiness to help developing and least-developed members integrate into the international multilateral trade system.

(2) Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
i. Between September 2013 and February 2014, officials from Taiwan attended a total of 38 APEC meetings and activities, including the SME Ministerial Meeting, Finance Ministers’ Meeting, APEC Ministerial Meeting, APEC Business Advisory Council, and Senior Officials’ Meeting.
ii. Last October, former Vice President Vincent Siew led a delegation to the 21st Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bali, Indonesia. During the meeting, he offered an account of Taiwan’s commitment to trade and market liberalization and desire to join regional economic integration. He also held bilateral meetings with the heads of state and representatives thereof from several countries.
iii. Taiwan has gained knowledge of the major topics that mainland China, the host of APEC this year, intends to cover and its plans for ministerial and high-level meetings. MOFA will help ROC government agencies participate in this year’s APEC activities, and strive to strengthen our ties with the other member economies, thereby creating conditions conducive to Taiwan’s participation in the TPP.

(3) World Health Organization (WHO)
i. Last year marked Taiwan’s fifth time to be invited to attend the World Health Assembly (WHA). Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Wen-ta led the ROC delegation and gave an address elucidating ROC success in healthcare cooperation and development. The ROC delegation spoke during discussions on 23 technical issues and held 21 bilateral talks on the sidelines with the US, EU members, and other economies, showing Taiwan’s high level of participationsophistication.
ii. Last April, the US Department of State submitted a report to Congress on helping Taiwan gain WHO participation, urging the WHO to adopt the WHA model and accept Taiwan. The ROC will build on this foundation so as to broaden its participation in other WHO meetings, activities, and mechanisms.

(4) International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
i. Due to support from the US, EU members, and other major countries and diplomatic allies; the easing of cross-strait relations; and the concerted efforts by both Taiwan’s governing and opposition parties, last September Roberto Kobeh González, President of the Council of ICAO, sent a letter to invite Taiwan’s Director-General of the Civil Aeronautics Administration Shen Chi to participate as a guest in the 38th ICAO Assembly. This marked the first UN specialized agency to invite Taiwan to a meeting since the WHA issued Taiwan an invitation five years ago.
ii. In addition to participating in the assembly and various committees and obtaining information on the latest international civil aviation developments, our delegation engaged in exchanges and held bilateral meetings with representatives from nearly 40 countries. Our professional participation throughout the assembly was highly appreciated. Accordingly, we will strive to partake in other ICAO technical meetings and regional mechanisms in the future so as to further bolster the management of civil aviation and better safeguard the rights and safety of airline passengers from both Taiwan and abroad.

(5) United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
i. The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP19): Deputy Minister Yeh Shin-cheng of the ROC Environmental Protection Administration led a delegation under the name of the Industrial Technology Research Institute to take part in the UNFCCC COP19 as an NGO observer in Warsaw, Poland, last year onfrom November 11-22. During the conference, Dr. Yeh was interviewed by Climate Change TV, and the ROC delegation held bilateral meetings with deputations from 21 countries and influential organizations. Sixteen of our diplomatic allies voiced support offor our bid at the COP 19 senior-level meetings or signed such letters to the UNFCCC Secretariat.
ii. Sideline events: The ROC delegation and other organizations jointly hosted sideline meetings. In addition, Dr. Yeh was invited for the first time to serve as a panelist at a sideline event organized by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Israel, a signatory to the UNFCCC.

(6) Other international organizations
i. Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fisheries Resources in the North Pacific Ocean: The ROC signed the Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fisheries Resources in the North Pacific Ocean as a fishing entity. The convention was reviewed and passed by the Legislative Yuan, and submitted to the president to complete the ratification process. After the convention enters into force, the ROC may become a member of the North Pacific Fisheries Commission established by the convention, thereby effectively protecting extensive ROC fishing interests in the North Pacific high seas.
ii. Asian Productivity Organization: The ROC was named the host of the Asian Productivity Organization’s Center of Excellence on Green Productivity from 2013 to 2014, showing that our achievements in green technology are recognized by the international community.
iii. After completing the application procedures, Taiwan was granted formal membership to the Asset Recovery Interagency Network of Asia and the Pacific in January 2014. The membership should reinforce our cooperation with the international community on combating international crime and recovering the proceeds gained from crime.

4. Comprehensive promotion of diplomatic efforts
(1) Economic and trade diplomacy
i. Active participation in regional economic integration: The ROC’s active participation in regional economic integration has been prioritized under the viable diplomacy policy. As such, the government has been promoting bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) and economic cooperation agreements (ECAs) by promoting contact on a variety of fronts and gradually signing such accords, and by seeking participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The inking of an agreement on economic cooperation with New Zealand and an agreement on economic partnership with Singapore has created favorable conditions for our participation in the TPP and the RCEP. These developments fully demonstrate our determination to liberalize our economy and trade, and our readiness to sign similar agreements with other economic and trade partners.
ii. Overseas trade fairs and investment and trade promotion groups: MOFA has requested its overseas offices to actively help Taiwanese enterprises explore opportunities overseas. The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) has been commissioned to organize or participate in trade fairs in our allied countries and other friendly nations, so as to explore business opportunities and enhance Taiwan’s profile and brand images abroad. In 2013, TAITRA organized 19 fairs, featuring 925 Taiwanese enterprises. In addition, investment and trade promotion groups and high-level economic and trade delegations have been organized to visit our allies and other countries and hold joint meetings. These visits help expand our global presence, promote Taiwanese brands, and enhance bilateral economic and trade exchanges.

(2) Parliamentary diplomacy
The members of the Legislative Yuan have always been supportive of our efforts to maintain diplomatic relations, and last year MOFA assisted six parliamentary delegations with a total of 31 members in traveling abroad. Various legislators observed our participation in the UNFCCC COP19 in Warsaw, Poland, attended the ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Indonesia, and visited other countries, including the United States, Panama, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, the Philippines, and the Republic of Korea.

(3) Public diplomacy and international exchanges
i. Public diplomacy and international exchanges: MOFA has actively promoted public diplomacy so as to improve the public’s understanding of related ROC policies. Thus, MOFA has attached greater importance on e-diplomacy, paying attention to the development model and effectiveness thereof in different countries, as well as its future evolution and influence on global governance. In addition, the Foreign Press Liaison Office was established to promptly convey our government’s position on and response to important international issues.
ii. Promotional campaigns: MOFA arranged interviews of President Ma Ying-jeou by important international media outlets, including Euronews, The Washington Post, and Manichi Shimbun. The international media was also called upon to help cover Taiwan’s participation in UNFCCC, ICAO, and APEC, so as to generate positive images of the ROC in the international community. In addition, MOFA commissioned a private company to produce the short film “Invest in Taiwan: Way to Gold” with which to promote Taiwan’s important investment and trade policies and related incentives. The film was broadcast by international financial media channels during the annual APEC meeting last year, and MOFA hopes to release it on other forms of major international media in the future.
iii. Youth involvement in international affairs: To broaden the international perspectives and involvement of Taiwan’s youths, MOFA established a task force to promote young people’s participation in international affairs and launch numerous international youth participation programs. In order to integrate the youth affairs handled by various departments, MOFA set up the website Taiwan’s Youth Engage the World. Furthermore, MOFA has been active in nurturing international perspectives among Taiwanese youths by organizing Youth Ambassadors Taiwan ROC, Taiwan Culture and Study Tours, Teen Diplomatic Envoys, NGO International Talents Training Course, and other activities.

5. Improving services for the public
To provide the public better service, MOFA has continued to improve its consular work and emergency disaster relief missions, as follows:
(1) In consular affairs, we have enhanced passport security design that further prevents counterfeiting, with 60% of ROC passports currently in use containing such features. We have also simplified visa applications for foreign nationals, sought better visa treatment for our citizens from more countries, and improved our document authentication service.
(2) Efforts have been made to provide more timely and effective assistance to ROC overseas compatriots and to citizens traveling abroad. Overseas travel advisories are updated promptly after sudden political developments, major natural disasters, and epidemics abroad. MOFA also operates an emergency call center, a dedicated 24-hour year-round hotline that provides and coordinates emergency aid for ROC travelers abroad. In addition, our overseas offices can also offer emergency assistance to more effectively ensure the safety of our citizens traveling abroad.

IV. Future outlook and endeavors
The rapidly changing international political and economic landscapes have brought about both challenges and opportunities. MOFA will continue to promote its viable diplomacy policy in order to safeguard our relations with allied countries, and expand substantive and mutually beneficial relations with the other countries based on the principle of reciprocity. The TPP and the RCEP remain a key focus as MOFA seeks to expand Taiwan’s room for development and participation in the region’s economic integration, with both being indispensable to the nation’s survival. At the same time, MOFA will endeavor to foster regional peace and prosperity, actively contributing to the international community.

1. Serving as a peacemaker to help maintain regional peace and stability
Regarding disputes concerning the East China Sea and the South China Sea, the ROC government has called on all parties concerned to refer to the East China Sea Peace Initiative and peacefully resolve disputes in line with international law, and has achieved concrete results that have been recognized and lauded by the international community. One telling example was the inking of the Taiwan-Japan fisheries agreement. As an example of the Peace Initiative in practice, it resolved certain fishing disputes spanning more than 40 years regarding the overlapping exclusive economic zones between Taiwan and Japan. In addition, we also dissolved the tension resulting from the Guang Da Xing No. 28 incident with the Philippines. The ROC and the Philippines reached consensus on three items: refraining from the use of force in law enforcement actions, notifying each other prior to such actions, and promptly releasing detained fishing vessels and crews. The ROC government’s insistence on peaceful consultation as the solution to disputes, as prescribed in the East China Sea Peace Initiative, has led to these and other substantive achievements.

In response to the recent air defense identification zone issue, the ROC government proposed its Statement on East China Sea Airspace Security. This is another example of our efforts to nurture peace in the international community. MOFA will continue to advance endeavors in this regard with the hope to create a peaceful and prosperous environment with other countries, and contribute to regional security and stability.

2. Strengthening economic and trade diplomacy while actively participating in regional economic integration
The year 2014 will be crucial for our efforts to take part in regional economic integration. As directed by President Ma Ying-jeou, MOFA will adopt a dual-track approach to promote our participation in the TPP and the RCEP. We will continue to build bridges on a variety of fronts and sign accords with important trade partners one by one. By concluding accords, such as economic cooperation agreements and bilateral investment agreements, we can gain momentum on multiple fronts for our inclusion in regional economic integration.

In addition, MOFA has established a task force on advancing economic and trade activities that will help solicit government procurement bids from other countries. The task force will also assist SMEs to expand overseas, and explore emerging markets, international business opportunities, and distribution channels. MOFA set goals for these promotional campaigns after consulting with the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), and prioritized the results of these campaigns in the performance assessment of our embassies and representative offices. Such efforts have strengthened our economic and trade diplomacy, and MOFA will continue to work closely with the MOEA and other related government agencies to raise our economic and trade diplomacy to new heights.

3. Continuing to advance viable diplomacy, creating conditions conducive to international participation
Taking a steadfast and practical approach, MOFA will closely monitor global developments and cooperate with other government agencies to expand Taiwan’s international participation. Under the principles of flexibility and pragmatism, the viable diplomacy policy has been adopted to consolidate our substantive relations with both allied and non-allied countries. We will continue to pay attention to the latest developments initiated by UN-affiliated bodies, including those on civil aviation security, humanitarian relief, healthcare and medical services, nuclear power, women, labor, culture, climate change, carbon reduction, and energy conservation. We will seek to build substantive cooperation with UN-affiliated agencies and specialized inter-governmental organizations, so as to meaningfully and pragmatically participate in international activities that help promote the development of the ROC and the interests of our people.

ROC achievements in democracy, human rights, rule of law, science, technology, civil society, tourism, culture, humanitarian aid, and environmental protection have been recognized worldwide. This showing of soft power remains an important pillar of our viable diplomacy. MOFA will integrate the strengths of the public and private sectors in the areas of medicine, science, technology, education, and culture. This will enable Taiwan to better connect and cooperate with the international community, upgrade our foreign aid and international humanitarian relief efforts, and allow the world to better see and understand Taiwan. Our efforts will not only raise Taiwan’s international profile and status, but also fulfill our obligation as a citizen of the international community by contributing to multiple areas with innovative approaches.

V. Conclusion
The ROC, being strategically located in East Asia, remains an important link in the international trade network and seeks to be a responsible stakeholder in the international community. The ROC also uses diplomacy to better ensure its sovereignty and security, and foster an international environment conducive to its national development. At the same time, we attach significant importance to building cordial, harmonious, and cooperative relations with other countries, and pursuing regional peace and prosperity. MOFA is entrusted by the people to defend their interests in the diplomatic arena, and its staff members do not skirt this responsibility. MOFA will continue to adhere to the viable diplomacy policy, safeguard our sovereignty, and promote diplomatic efforts with flexibility and pragmatism. By strengthening substantive relations with other countries, MOFA can expand Taiwan’s international participation, thereby advancing the people’s welfare and formulating solutions that benefit as many countries as possible.

Given that the government has put high priority on gaining participation in the TPP and the RCEP, I sincerely hope that legislators across all party lines can work together to promote Taiwan’s inclusion in regional economic integration. I also look forward to your unwavering support ofor our diplomatic efforts, so that we can continue to act on the international stage as an active peacemaker, provider of humanitarian aid, promoter of culture exchanges, creator of new business opportunities and technology, and standard-bearer of Chinese culture. Our country’s image, international status, and presence will be recognized worldwide, and Taiwan will be able to make even more significant contributions to peace and prosperity in the region and the rest of the world.

This concludes my report. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.