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President Ma says missions on 6-day journey accomplished

The president announces confirmation of U.S. arms package

President Ma says missions on 6-day journey accomplished

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou stated yesterday that his six - day diplomatic mission had achieved "tangible results" in attend the inauguration of new Honduran President Porifino Lubo and discuss future plans to assist earthquake stricken Haiti with leaders of the Dominican Republic Haiti in Santo Domingo and further consolidating mutual trust in relations with the United States.
Moreover, the president confirmed that President Barack Obama's administration had notified Congress of its intent to sell US$6.4 billion in defensive arms systems to Taiwan.
The chartered China Airlines Boeing 747-400 carrying the president and his entourage of cabinet ministers, ruling Kuomintang lawmakers, staff and accompanying journalists arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 4:30p.m. after a nearly 14 hour flight from Los Angeles International Airport.
Ma was met by Presidential Secretary-General Liao Liao-yi and other officials and members of the diplomatic corps and delivered a short address similar in content to remarks made by the president on the significance of his fourth diplomatic journey shortly before landing over the CAL jetliner's intercom system.
The president related that the delegation had spent 43 of 113 hours in the air, but that the achievements of the journey had been "tangible" and had confirmed the "correct direction" of his "living diplomacy" strategy.
Ma related that his concept of a "diplomatic truce" with the authoritarian People's Republic of China had been widely criticized when revealed, but said that the situation in earthquake-stricken Haiti had confirmed its value.
"If the previous 'fire-setting diplomacy' method had been adopted, there would have been a diplomatic contest in Haiti, but after the moderation in cross-strait relations we have said goodbye to this type of situation," Ma stated.
The Taiwan president had discussed future plans for assistance to Haiti, which was struck by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake Jan. 12 that killed over 150,000, during a three - hour stopover in Santo Domingo with Dominican Republican President Leonel Fernandez and Haitian Prime Minister Jean Bellerive during which the CAL jetliner delivered 10 tons of medicine, food and other supplies for transport to Haiti.
Ma related that after a banquet with representatives of the Los Angeles area overseas Taiwan community, he had asked accompanying Cabinet ministers, legislators and Taiwan Red Cross president Chen Chang-wen to discuss concrete plans.
The Taiwan president said the meeting had decided to send a specialist team to Haiti before the lunar new year to investigate concrete aid needs and, based on its report, begin drafting plans for assistance in four fields, including public health and sanitation, resettlement, vocational training and job creation and care for orphans.
Ma also said that his diplomacy aimed to "manifest universal values" and cited his attendance at Wednesday's inaugural of Honduran President Porifino Lobo of the conservative National Party of Honduras (PNH) which he said brought to a close months of political instability which occurred in the wake of a military coup against former president Jose Manuel Zelaya of the Honduran Liberal Party.
"Should we not affirm the restoration of democratic constitutional rule and should we not celebrate the return of Honduras to the ranks of democracies after such a short time after a coup?" asked the Taiwan president and ruling rightist Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) chairman.
Ma added that the fact that he was one of only three presidents to attend Lobo's inaugural along with Dominican Republican President Fernandez and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, "manifested Taiwan's commitment to democratic values."
The president also said that his delegation had maintained a low - profile and "dignified" style during overnight transits in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The president related that he had met Representative David Wu (Democratic, Oregon), San Francisco City Mayor Gavin Newsome and held telephone conversations with 12 U.S. senators and representatives during his transit period in San Francisco during which he discussed the controversy over Taiwan's ban on imports of U.S. ground beef and intestines and other matters.
Shortly before departing on the trip back to Taiwan Friday morning, the Taiwan president had breakfast with Los Angeles City Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and several influential Los Angeles area politicians at the mayor's official residence.
The president said the U.S. lawmakers appreciated his explanation and added that while it was difficult to say when the beef flap would be overcome, "we can say that it should not be extended to other areas or influence the overall U.S.-Taiwan relationship."
Ma then announced confirmation by the U.S. government that the U.S. government had notified Congress of a US$6.4 billion package in defensive arms sales.
The package included 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, two Osprey Class mine hunting ships, and 12 ATM-84L and RTM-84L Harpoon Block II Telemetry missiles and 114 Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles and technical support and C4ISR software land and naval "command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance" systems.
Ma stated that the addition of the new defensive weapons will help ensure that Taiwan has sufficient capability for "determined defence and effective deterrence."
"These weapons are absolutely mostly defensive and represent a necessary expenditure for Taiwan's defence," said the president, who added that he hoped the bolstering of Taiwan's self-defence confidence will also be favorable for the development of cross-strait relations with the People's Republic of China.
"If it is more confident and more secure, Taiwan will be more able to have more mutual interaction with the mainland," Ma said.
Presidential Spokesman Wang Yu-chi told reporters that AIT had notified the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 11p.m. Jan. 29 and that the MOFA had in turn notified President Ma, who therefore knew of the confirmation of the long-planned package before boarding the CAL jetliner.
Wang acknowledged that the announcement "was not a surprise," but added that the timing of the announcement was a sign of "goodwill."