Taiwan, US still maintain close military ties despite informal relations: Ma
May 30, 2014, 12:09 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that despite the absence of formal diplomatic relations, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the United States have cooperated closely in the security and military spheres.
Ma made the remarks during a visit to Nangan on the outlying islands of Matsu to thank the army troops stationed there, ahead of the Dragon Boat Festival.
The president said that he spotted a map placed in a room in the military barracks which was painted by a U.S. soldier stationed there 53 years ago and later marked by American soldiers from various states of the U.S. with symbols representing their troops and their hometowns.
Ma said that as is known to all, China had been bullied by many international powers in modern Chinese history, including the U.S.
The Qing Dynasty was significantly impacted by the invasion of the Eight-Nation Alliance, the Eight-Power Allied Forces — aggressive troops sent by Britain, the United States, Germany, France, tsarist Russia, Japan, Italy and Austria in 1900, to suppress the anti-imperialist Yihetuan Movement (or Boxer Rebellion) of the Chinese people, during 1898-1900.
Facing such a strong force, China's weak government at the time was forced to sign an agreement to pay an indemnity of 450 million taels of silver (worth around US$333 million at the time) — more than the government's annual tax revenue, over a course of 39 years to the eight nations involved.
However, the U.S. later returned most of its share for the education of Chinese students studying in America and the establishment of Tsinghua Imperial College, later changed to National Tsinghua University, which has cultivated three Nobel laureates, Ma said.
Even now, interests generated by the funds are used by the two Tsinghua Universities on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Ma noted, adding that though it is a small amount, it is of great historic significance.
While China suffered from aggression by the Eight-Power Allied Forces, the U.S.' rare move to help China was commendable, the president pointed out.
Ma also talked about the U.S. assistance to China during the War of Resistance against Japan and the history of the Flying Tigers — the American Volunteer Group of U.S. pilots who came to the Republic of China's aid during World War II by jointly launching an air strike at the Hsinchu Air Force Base in northern Taiwan.
The ROC and the U.S. have maintained military cooperation for a long time, Ma said, adding that the two countries share values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law and had joined hands to fight the Communists over tough times.