Taipei, June 15 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Friday that Taiwan must maintain good relations with its three key trading partners -- the United States, Japan and mainland China.
"It's no easy task, but not unattainable, and we have made progress toward that goal over the past four years," Ma said.
He made the remarks while receiving visiting U.S. scholar Ezra F. Vogel, a Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus at Harvard University.
Ma said he has attached great importance to improving relations with China since taking office in May 2008.
Through strenuous efforts, Ma said, relations with China are no longera frustrating obstacle to Taiwan's development and can now even helpboost its growth.
At the same time, Ma told Vogel that his administration has never overlooked its longtime friendship with the U.S., especiallycooperation in defense affairs.
Ma noted that Taiwan-U.S. relations are now even betterthan before.
Touching on Taiwan-Japan ties, Ma said this year marks the 40th anniversary of the breakup of diplomatic relations between the twocountries.
"We have come a long way since that dark moment," Ma said, adding that Taipei-Tokyo relations have continued to improve over the past four years and are now in their best-ever shape.
A premium collection of ancient Chinese art treasures at the National Palace Museum in suburban Taipei will be on loan to a Tokyo museum in thefuture under a cultural exchange program, Ma said, adding that the project is expected to further boost mutual understanding and friendship.
Regarding relations with China, Ma also mentioned his administration's decision to allow local colleges to admit Chinese students under a quota system.
"I'm glad to see young students from both sides of the Taiwan Straitstudying together at our campuses," Ma said, adding it is an encouragingdevelopment in bilateral ties.
During their meeting at the Presidential Office, Ma lauded Vogel for his academic achievements and commitment to educating students.
Ma, who has a Ph.D. in law from Harvard, recalled thathe had chosen to pursue advanced study at the university partly because Vogelwas teaching there.
"Shortly before my graduation from Harvard, Vogel published his famousbook 'Japan as Number One,'" Ma said. "Thirty-two years later, itremains high on the list of best-selling books."
Vogel, who not only speaks fluent Chinese but also reads and writes the language, is visiting Taiwan in conjunction with the release of the Chinese edition of his new book "Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China."
Noting that Vogel has spent over 10 years writing the book, Ma said he believes it is a historical epic.
(By Lee Shu-hua and Sofia Wu)