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Obama Statement Congratulating Taiwanese President-Elect Ma Ying-Jeou March 22, 2008

March 22, 2008

Chicago, IL | March 22, 2008

On March 22, the people of Taiwan went to the polls for the fourth time in 12 years to elect their President.  I offer my congratulations to President-elect Ma for his victory, and best wishes for his presidency.
The people of Taiwan deserve our respect and admiration for this free and fair election, which is just the latest step in consolidating a democracy that has advanced over the last two decades.  I hope the People's Republic of China responds to this election in a positive, constructive, and forward-leaning way.  It is important for Beijing to demonstrate to the people of Taiwan that the practical and non-confrontational approach that President-elect Ma promises to take toward the Mainland will be met with good faith and progress.  The PRC should reduce the military threat to Taiwan by drawing back the missiles it has deployed in southeast China and by other security confidence-building measures.  And on issues such as Taiwan's observer status in the World Health Organization, where the health of all Chinese people is at stake, it should allow Taiwan greater international space.
The United States should respond to Ma Ying-jeou's election by rebuilding a relationship of trust and support for Taiwan's democracy.  The U.S. should reopen blocked channels of communication with Taiwan officials.  We should continue to provide the arms necessary for Taiwan to deter possible aggression.  And we should encourage both Taipei and Beijing to build commercial, cultural, and other ties, laying the groundwork for a closer relationship and ultimately movement toward resolution of their differences.  We should maintain our "one China" policy, our adherence to the three U.S.-PRC Joint Communiques concerning Taiwan, and observance of the Taiwan Relations Act, which lays out the legal basis for our relationship. 
March 22nd was a good day for the people of Taiwan, for the forces of democracy around the world, and for peace and stability in the western Pacific.  I will do all that I can to support Taiwan's democracy in the years ahead.