Remarks by Director Stephen M. Young at 2008 Independence Day Reception
OT0811E | Date: 2008-07-03
Minister Ou, Distinguished Guests, Dear Friends and AIT Colleagues -
Thank you all for joining us today as we observe the 232nd anniversary of the founding of the United States of America. Today we celebrate our birthday and our democracy.
During the summer of 1776, Americans meeting in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia established a new nation, the United States of America. The democratic principles enshrined in our founding documents have seen us safely through more than two centuries of great challenge and change.
Now in 2008, we are in the midst of two democratic transitions - the Taiwan elections and the U.S. elections. Taiwan has already chosen new leaders; and we will do so this fall. Both transitions will provide challenges and opportunities. However, for the incoming leadership here and in the United States, our shared democratic values will continue to fuel the engine that drives our longstanding relationship towards ever greater peace and prosperity.
I admire everyone who took part in 2008's hard-fought Taiwan elections - for their vigorous spirit during the campaign and for the orderly transition of power that followed. As President Bush stated, "Taiwan is a beacon of democracy to Asia and the world. I am confident that the recent Taiwan election and democratic process it represents will advance Taiwan as a prosperous, secure, and well-governed society."
I congratulate President Ma on his victory and I am looking forward to deepening our relationship during his administration. We are very much encouraged by the recent steps in the expansion of cross-Strait ties in the form of weekend passenger charter flights and mainland Chinese tourists. As Secretary Rice said, the U.S. will also continue to support Taiwan in its quest for international space and dignity.
The coming year should see a strengthening of economic cooperation between Taiwan and the United States, including productive TIFA talks in Taipei. Washington will continue to place high importance on providing Taipei the confidence and means necessary to guarantee its own security. And the ever-broadening web of people-to-people ties, including an impressive flow of tourists, students, and visitors of all kinds, will heighten our mutual understanding.
Mr. Minister, let me propose a toast to the United States of America, to Taiwan, and to the common democratic principles we so strongly value.