Taipei, Jan. 23 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said on World Freedom Day Wednesday that his administration hopes that dialogue between Taiwan and China can extend beyond economic and trade issues to encompass human rights and the rule of law.
Taiwan's ultimate goal is to maintain peace in East Asia and allow people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to pursue the values of freedom and democracy, Ma said at a ceremony marking 2013 World Freedom Day.
The president said that since he took office in 2008, dialogue between Taiwan and China has focused on trade and cultural issues, but he expressed hope that the issues of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law could be taken up in the near future.
"Although democracy is an exported system, we have fully proved over the last 60 years that this foreign system can be actually cultivated in the soil of Chinese culture," he said, noting that the Republic of China (Taiwan) has become a fully democratic country.
A sign of that, the president said, is that Taiwan was again rated a free country in an annual report compiled by Freedom House.
Ma also stressed that as a member of the international community, the ROC is determined to be a peacemaker, a provider of humanitarian aid, a promoter of cultural ties, a creator of new technologies and business opportunities and a standard-bearer at the leading edge of Chinese culture.
"Without peace, freedom and democracy can hardly be achieved," Ma said, noting that Taiwan and China have signed 18 agreements over the past five years, an indication of warming ties.
"I am not saying I'm happy with the status quo, but at least both sides across the Taiwan Strait have found a peaceful solution to conflicts," said Ma.
Over 400 guests from some 60 countries and territories were attending the 2013 World Freedom Day celebrations and the annual General Conference of the World League for Freedom and Democracy and the Asian Pacific League for Freedom and Democracy.
(By James Lee) ENDITEM/ls/tc