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Taiwan pledges donation to Eisenhower Memorial project

2015/07/29 12:41:00

Taiwan's representative to the U.S Shen Lyu-shun (left) and U.S. Senator Pat Roberts

Washington, July 28 (CNA) Taiwan pledged a donation Tuesday of US$1 million to a project to help construct a memorial honoring former U. S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The pledge showed Taiwan's gratitude toward the U.S. president for his adamant support of the country's security and economic development during the 1950s and 1960s.

In a ceremony for the pledge, Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡), Taiwan's representative to the U.S., said that without Eisenhower's support, China would have taken over Taiwan by force.

Shen, who witnessed Eisenhower's visit to Taiwan in 1960, said that the U.S. president stood in front of Taiwan's Presidential Office and addressed the local public during his visit to ensure Washington's efforts to defend Taipei against Beijing. Shen said that during Eisenhower's visit to Taiwan, China bombed outlying Kinmen for two days.

Eisenhower was the 34th U.S. president and served between 1953 and 1961.

During his term as president, Eisenhower signed the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States of America and the Republic of China (中美共同防禦條約) with Taiwan's President Chiang Kai-shek in 1954 for cooperation against Beijing's ambitions to invade Taipei.

In 1955, Eisenhower pushed for an initiative in the U.S. Congress to pass the Formosa Resolution (台灣決議文), which authorized the U.S. president to defend Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.

Shen said that during his eight-year presidency, Eisenhower provided Taiwan with US$1 billion in financial assistance which laid down a sound foundation and paved the path for the island to build a prosperous economy. According to Shen, the financial assistance then was equivalent of about US$8 billion in the current dollar terms.

In a letter to Kansas Senator Pat Roberts, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission's chairman, Shen said that Eisenhower "holds a very special place in the hearts of the people of Taiwan."

Roberts said at the donation ceremony that President Eisenhower and President Chiang jointly fought for peace during World War II and the firm cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan in that difficult period led the two countries to forge a closer partnership in security and enjoy the value of democracy in the 21st Century.

Thad Cochran, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, senators Joe Manchin and Mike Lee, and U.S. representatives Sanford Bishop and Kevin Brady attended the donation ceremony to express gratitude for Taiwan's pledge.

The Eisenhower Memorial project has been in the planning stages for 15 years since the U.S. Congress created the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.

The U.S. Congress has already appropriated US$60 million for design and planning, and President Barak Obama's 2016 budget proposal is set to assign an additional US$68 million for construction. But the U.S. Congress has not yet approved any funding with lawmakers citing complaints over the design.

Since uncertainty surrounding the design in recent years has postponed fundraising for the project, the commission said it aims to raise US$20 million to US$25 million privately to supplement congressional funds, hoping that the construction of the memorial will be completed as soon as possible.

(By Tony Liao and Frances Huang)