Taiwanese celebrates 103rd National Day in Norway

chnt-MMAP-mdThe Taiwanese community of the Republic of China in Norwegian Capital Oslo celebrated its 103rd National Day yesterday. Representative of the Taipei Representative Office in Norway Mrs.Gloria Chen delivered the keynote address, saying that it is also a significant moment for us to remember the hardship and struggles our ancestors have overcome to fulfill the realization of liberty, democracy and prosperity in Taiwan, the concepts of democracy and rule of law are deeply embedded in Taiwan’s society. Taiwan is exporting democratic values to mainland China and Taiwan’s path towards democracy will serve as an inspiring model for mainland China to follow in the future. Taiwan concluded economic cooperation agreements with New Zealand and Singapore respectively, government has striven to improve relations with mainland China and to safeguard peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait also actively functioned as a “peacemaker” and a “provider of humanitarian aid”, Gloria noted.
Several diplomats from foreign Embassies in Norway, Norwegian politicians and Members of parliaments, journalists, business people as well as other notable Norwegians and Taiwanese participated in the event to convey best wishes to the nation of Taiwan.
Opening remarks by Gloria Chen at Taiwan (ROC)’s 103rd National Day Reception.

Distinguished Guests, My fellow countrymen, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening. During the transition period when we are still expecting the arrival of the new Representative of Taiwan to Norway, it is my great honour to heartily welcome you here to celebrate the 103rd National Day of the Republic of China (Taiwan). It is a joyful time for us to celebrate the establishment of our nation. Yet it is also a significant moment for us to remember the hardship and struggles our ancestors have overcome to fulfill the realization of liberty, democracy and prosperity in Taiwan today, which we are very proud of and will surely continue our all-out efforts to make further progression.

Today, I am glad to share with you the substantial political and economic achievements Taiwan has made during the past year:
Firstly, the concepts of democracy and rule of law are deeply embedded in Taiwan’s society. A report issued by Freedom House rated Taiwan as one of the freest countries in Asia. Democracy has given Taiwan an international dignity and respect that a rising China itself does lack, as indicated by the fact that 140 countries and territories have accorded Taiwan’s nationals visa-free or landing visa treatment. With the increasing amount of interactions in trade, investment and social exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan is exporting democratic values to mainland China. Taiwan’s path towards democracy will serve as an inspiring model for mainland China to follow in the future.

Secondly, further economic liberalization sustains Taiwan’s growth. Taiwan is ranked No. 17 out of 185 countries in the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom. Taiwan’s foreign exchange reserves totalled US$423 billion in August 2014, the fourth-largest in the world. Our economic growth is expected to reach 3.41 percent this year, increasing 1.3 percent from last year. Last year in July and November, Taiwan concluded economic cooperation agreements with New Zealand and Singapore respectively, which have not only generated great business interests for these three countries, but also added momentum to Taiwan’s economic and trade liberalization. In an effort to further promote liberalization and globalization, Taiwan has launched the “free economic pilot zone project,” and will actively participate in regional economic integration, such as Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Thirdly, cross-Strait relations are now at their best since the two sides split over 60 years ago. Since President Ma Ying-jeou assumed office in 2008, the Taiwan government has striven to improve relations with mainland China and to safeguard peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan and mainland China have so far held 10 rounds of talks and concluded 21 agreements. In February and June this year, our Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council met his mainland counterpart in Nanjing and Taipei respectively. These were the first formal ministerial-level meetings between Taiwan and mainland China since the two sides fell under separate governance in 1949. As of now, 118 regular cross-strait flights are scheduled each day. The number of mainland Chinese students studying in Taiwan has increased from 800 in 2007 to over 25,000 today. And during the same period, the number of mainland Chinese visitors to Taiwan has multiplied from 200,000 to 2.85 million. The positive development has won global recognition and Taiwan’s international participation has also been substantively improved.

Fourthly, as a responsible stakeholder in the international community, Taiwan has actively functioned as a “peacemaker” and a “provider of humanitarian aid.” In response to the Diaoyutai Islands issue, President Ma proposed the East China Sea Peace Initiative in August, 2012, calling on all parties concerned to observe international law and resolve disputes through peaceful means. In a further effort to ensure regional stability, President Ma released the Statement on East China Sea Airspace Security in February this year, urging all parties concerned to initiate as soon as possible bilateral talks on the overlapping Air Defense Identification Zones. These efforts have been well received by the international community, and President Ma was awarded the Eisenhower Medallion last month by People to People International, which was founded by US President Eisenhower in 1956, in recognition of President Ma’s contribution to peace and stability in East Asia.

Peace is a commitment. To achieve and maintain it takes courage and determination. I do believe that Norway, an eminent international peacemaker, would certainly embrace our determined commitment to preserve peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and we are looking forward to enhancing our bilateral exchange and cooperation based on our common values.

Taiwan has always been keen on playing the role of a peacemaker, provider of humanitarian aid, promoter of cultural exchange, creator of innovative technology and business opportunity, and standard-bearer of Chinese culture. Taiwan will continue to contribute to regional peace and stability, global economic prosperity, and sustainable development for humankind.

In conclusion, may I invite you all to join me in a toast, to the everlasting friendship between Norway and Taiwan, to the success and prosperity of our two countries, and to the good health and personal well-being for all of you. Cheers! Thank you!

Gloria Chen made Further comments to NORWAY NEWS about present situation in Asia. Over the past few days, the situation in Hong Kong has attracted worldwide attention. The government and people of the Republic of China (Taiwan) are deeply concerned about recent developments, and we would like to take this opportunity to express our views and expectations she said.

Freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law are the core values of Taiwan’s people. Taiwan has had universal suffrage for some time, and each time we hold elections many of our Hong Kong friends come to Taiwan to observe the proceedings. We fully understand and support the Hong Kong people’s demand for universal suffrage. As Hong Kong is an extremely important global financial center, any political turmoil that occurs there will impact not only Asia but the entire world. We therefore call on the mainland Chinese authorities to listen carefully to the demands of the Hong Kong people and adopt a peaceful and cautious approach to the current situation. At the same time, we urge Hong Kong residents to express their views in a peaceful and rational manner. We do not wish to see any conflicts. Observers outside Hong Kong hope that it will gradually move toward democracy. We believe that, if a system of universal suffrage can be realized there, both Hong Kong itself as well as mainland China would benefit Gloria said.

The Government of Taiwan does hope the demonstrators and authorities in Hong Kong can engage in a rational and peaceful dialogue, and we will continue to closely watch ongoing developments in Hong Kong, said Gloria to NORWAY NEWS.

Mainland Affairs Council Expresses Support for Democratic Universal Suffrage in Hong Kong and Calls for Rational and Peaceful Dialogue

In regard to recent actions by the people of Hong Kong seeking democratic universal suffrage, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) hereby issues the following four-point statement:

The government’s long-standing policy has always been to support freedom, democracy, prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. Since Hong Kong’s handover to mainland China, the ROC government has always respected and had high hopes for the governance of Hong Kong and promotion of Hong Kong Chief Executive Election by universal suffrage to be implemented in accordance to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The people of Hong Kong have long held high expectations to carry out democratic universal suffrage, and regards it as an indicator of the Mainland’s intention to honor its “one country, two systems” pledge. Freedom and democracy are values in line with the developments of the times and are also conducive to Hong Kong’s future stability and prosperity, thus the ROC government hereby expresses sincere concern and support for the Hong Kong people’s pursuit of democracy.

It is hoped that the Mainland and Hong Kong authorities may listen to the people’s voices, seek common ground with the Hong Kong people through peaceful and rational measures, protect the Hong Kong people’s freedom of assembly and speech and other basic human rights so as to allow smooth democratic progression in Hong Kong. This would not only ensure Hong Kong’s long-term stability, but would also hold strong significance for long-term cross-strait development and be a key milestone on the whole ethnic Chinese society’s path towards democracy and rule of law.

The MAC will continue to closely watch ongoing developments in Hong Kong. In order to safeguard the rights, interests and security of Taiwanese people in Hong Kong, the MAC has also instructed the Bureau of Hong Kong Affairs to stay abreast of related developments and to formulate preparatory contingency measures.

(NADARAJAH SETHURUPAN)