The government is on the right track regarding Taiwan-US relations, and has no plans to alter policies because the US is facing a transfer of political power, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Tseng (曾厚仁) said yesterday at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
Tseng was among the officials asked to report on the post-US election prospects for Taiwan-US economic and trade relations at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.
Taiwan and the US have a long-term and close economic and trade relationship, Tseng said, adding that last year the US was the nation’s second-largest trade partner, its second-largest export market and its third-largest source of imports.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Total bilateral trade volume last year was more than US$81.08 billion, an increase of 11.7 percent from 2018, he said.
Several top US companies this year have announced plans to increase investment in Taiwan, and the US administration and Congress have also taken actions to enhance the Taiwan-US economic and trade relationship, he said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday last week said that US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach would lead the Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue with Taiwan on Friday, which is to be held in Washington and online, with discussions touching upon issues such as global medical safety, supply chains, 5G security and energy resources, Tseng said.
Asked if the government’s decision to allow imports of US pork containing trace levels of ractopamine as of Jan. 1 would be changed following the US presidential election, Tseng said: “We are a government that is ‘on the right track,’ so the announced policy will not change based on the changes in the US administration.”
When Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator William Tseng (曾銘宗) asked if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) would welcome US President Donald Trump if he decided to visit Taiwan before stepping down, Harry Tseng replied “yes.”
When the KMT lawmaker asked if it would be possible for US Navy ships to dock in Taiwan, and if the foreign ministry would accept a Trump announcement to establish formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Harry Tseng replied that US Navy ships are “welcome to dock anytime,” and that “there is no reason to refuse” an offer of diplomatic ties.
Later in the day, the ministry issued a statement to clarify Tseng’s responses, saying that inviting high-ranking US officials for visits and security cooperation operations have always been important diplomatic tasks, but hypothetical questions such as invitations to Trump or Pompeo to visit or allowing US Navy ships to dock in Taiwan have not been planned by the ministry, nor discussed with the US.
The ministry stays in close and smooth communication with the US, it said, adding that it would continue to follow the principles of mutual trust and reciprocity to deepen the Taiwan-US partnership, the statement added.
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