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Introduction

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has not only inherited a fine diplomatic tradition that began with the nation’s founding, but also accumulated a vast quantity of precious historical documents that dates back to the establishment of the Tsung-li ya-men (Office of Foreign Affairs) in 1861. MOFA’s impressive archives include more than 3,000 treaties, agreements, contracts and regulations, 615 boundary and site maps, and over 180,000 volumes of other documents that faithfully record the turbulent progress the Republic has made in its quest for diplomatic equality and independent sovereignty.

 

With this glorious tradition behind them and guided by the current policy of ‘viable diplomacy’, the entire staff at MOFA works diligently to expand Taiwan’s bilateral relations and international participation. They are helping to shape the Republic of China into a peacemaker, a provider of humanitarian aid, a promoter of cultural exchange, a creator of new technology and business opportunities, a standard bearer at the leading edge of Chinese culture, and a nation that is both respected by and inspiring to people around the world.

 

On the auspicious occasion of the centennial of the Republic of China, MOFA has carefully sorted through its archives and, with the National Palace Museum, coorganised A Century of Resilient Tradition: Exhibition of the Republic of China’s Diplomatic Archives. The exhibition falls into five sections: Lessons of History, Striving for Equality, Retrocession of Taiwan, Era of Resilience, and Diplomatic Legacy. On display are 88 items, including treaties, maps and documents, together with three charts: List of Ch’ing Treaties and Agreements Preserved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China, List of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China, and Countries /Territories Granting Visa Waivers or Landing Visas to ROC Passport Holders. Rare photographs are also on display to highlight the relevant moments in history.

 

We hope the exhibition will enable people from all walks of life in Taiwan, as well as friends from abroad, to better appreciate the history of the nation’s diplomatic efforts, which were made out of a belief in freedom and equality, as well as the significance of these invaluable documents. It is also hoped that, with its fine diplomatic tradition and resources, the nation will go on to make even greater achievements through its latest approach to foreign affairs: viable diplomacy.