Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou.
Image: Jameson Wu / Flickr

Earlier this week, President Ma Ying-jeou met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, the first American Cabinet-Level official to visit Taiwan in nearly 14 years. President Ma stated that McCarthy’s arrival is highly significant and is proof that his team’s efforts over the past half-decade to rebuild mutual trust with Washington have been effective.

Ma expressed hope that McCarthy’s visit would open a new chapter in Taiwan-U.S. environmental cooperation and lay a more stable foundation for broader bilateral cooperation in the future. Taiwan did not have a chance to join the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or the Kyoto Protocol, but it is working very seriously to comply with international standards.

Several other improvements have been made in Taiwan-U.S. relations in recent years. Since 2008, the U.S. government has approved $18.3 billion worth of arms sales to Taiwan, and visits to the U.S. by Taiwanese have increased 29 percent since 2012, when Taiwan was included in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, Ma said.

The International Environmental Partnership was inaugurated in Taipei earlier this week by Wei Kuo-yen, the head of Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), and witnessed by Ma and McCarthy.

Taiwan and the United States have cooperated on environmental protection for two decades and the efforts have helped Taiwan transform itself into an exporter of environmental protection experiences and technology.