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Mayor Huang Wei-che and AIT Chairman James Moriarty Visit Taiwan Relations Act 40th Anniversary Special Exhibition in Tainan

The year 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act. In honor of the occasion, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) organized the "Strong Foundation, Bright Future: AIT@40 U.S.-Taiwan Relations Since 1979" special exhibition in Tainan and held the opening ceremony on Apr. 19 at the Patriotic Women's Association venue. AIT Chairman James Moriarty, Director W. Brent Christensen, and Kaohsiung Branch Chief Matthew O'Connor all attended the ceremony and celebrated the event with Tainan City Mayor Huang Wei-che and guests.
Mayor Huang met with the AIT officials for the first time since he assumed office before the ceremony. Later in his opening remarks, Huang recalled how Taiwan transitioned from an authoritarian government with centralized power to a democratic and open society. Taiwan's democracy is a role model for the international Chinese community and an important player in the stability of the region's security. Long before the Taiwan Relations Act, Taiwan and the US had already engaged in many frequent interactions. This year is the 40th anniversary of the passing of this Act which, although a domestic law of the US, has significant impact on Taiwan's democratic progress, overall international situation, external relations, and even economic growth.
Huang also mentioned that thanks to the help of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Zheng Han-chi, the "Father of Irwin mango", was able to obtain Irwin mango tree branches from Florida and graft them onto mango trees in Yujing. Now the Irwin mangoes grown in Taiwan are well-known throughout the world. After learning that the United States Department of Agriculture will send their very first trade delegation to Taiwan by the end of April, Mayor Huang also invited the delegation to visit Tainan. Echoing the title of the exhibition, the Mayor pointed out that a "strong foundation makes bright future" and wished that Taiwan-US collaborations in the future can be as fruitful and robust as Irwin mango trees.
AIT Chairman James Moriarty expressed that the exhibition venue was once the location of the United States Information Service (USIS). Back then the library was the first stop for scholars planning to study abroad in the US to look for related information. Naturally these overseas students developed a strong understanding of and connection with and the US, established professional links, and shared democratic values; and these common grounds set down the foundation of the present Taiwan-US relationship. Since this building played such an important part in facilitating stable interactions between the two parties, and it is especially meaningful for the special exhibition to be hosted here.
In 1948, the American Embassy rented the Patriotic Women's Association building as the USIS location. Although the R.O.C. government later lent the building to the International Committee of the Red Cross indefinitely without compensation, it was still leased to USIS until R.O.C. and the US terminated formal diplomatic ties in 1979. Items on display in this exhibition at the Patriotic Women's Association include documents, historical items, interview data, and many photographs, showcasing the numerous meaningful interactions in various fields between Taiwan and the US since 1979. The exhibition, which is open until May 19, looks back to the past four decades of Taiwan and the US relations, historical moments, and possible developments in the future.