Sat, May 23, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan a vital partner for US: official

COMMITMENT:The US reiterated its support for close cooperation and democratic developments in Taiwan, and welcomed discussions during Tsai Ing-wen’s US visit

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

“We also support Taiwan’s efforts to develop innovative and asymmetric capabilities to deter coercion or intimidation,” she said.

Bilateral and military exchanges have nearly doubled in recent years, increasing the quality of interactions.

“We have increased our prosperity, improved our security and strengthened international partnerships and ties between our peoples,” she said.

“We encourage authorities in both Beijing and Taipei to continue on the basis of dignity and respect,” Thornton said. “Our policy on cross-strait relations is not directed at one side of the Taiwan Strait or the other — there should be no unilateral attempts to change the status quo.”

Thornton said that the US encouraged Beijing to demonstrate flexibility and restraint.

“The benefits that stable cross-strait ties have brought to both sides and to the US and the region are enormous,” she said. “It is important that both sides of the Strait recognize the importance of these benefits and work to establish a basis for continued peace and stability.”

Efforts made over the past six years to reconceptualize relations with Taiwan have allowed the US to deepen the bonds of friendship, she said.

“Taiwan shares our values, has earned our respect and continues to merit our support — we look forward to continuing our work together in the years ahead,” she said.

Thornton alluded to continuing trade problems, saying that Washington has worked hard to solve ongoing “market access issues” with Taiwan, but that a great deal remained to be done.

“We will work on outstanding items, such as bringing Taiwan’s regulations into line with science-based international standards,” she said.

On the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, Thornton said that the US was aware that Taiwan wanted to join and that it would be “helpful” if Taipei would move on its own volition to address some of the “troublesome market access issues that have been the subject of discussion for many years.”

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