President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged the US to continue to provide Taiwan with necessary defensive weapons and reinforce the two nations’ bilateral cooperation on military security, as she met with a US congressional delegation led by US Senator John McCain to discuss issues of mutual interest to Taipei and Washington.
“It is the first time McCain visited Taiwan in his capacity as chairman of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services. It is also the first time in 24 years that a US delegation led by the head of the committee has come to Taiwan,” Tsai said during their meeting at the Presidential Office.
Expressing gratitude to McCain for his active support of Taiwan in the US Congress, Tsai said the veteran senator has offered assistance to Taiwan on multiple occasions by advocating Washington’s arms sale to Taipei and strengthening Taiwan-US cooperation on security.
Other senators in the delegation have also paid close attention to the cross-strait situation, Tsai said, adding that they have not only supported the US security committee to Taiwan based on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the “six assurances,” but have also called for assistance for Taiwan in relation to its broader participation in international organizations.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely urge the administrative branch of the US government to continue selling Taiwan necessary defensive weapons and reinforce our interactions and cooperation in the area of military security,” Tsai said.
Tsai said US arms sales to Taiwan and its continued commitment to fortify bilateral cooperation on security have been extremely conducive to maintaining stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the Asia-Pacific region.
Tsai concluded her remarks by calling for US support for Taiwan’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which she said could increase Taipei’s international trade competitiveness and conforms to Washington’s “pivot to Asia” policy.
During Tsai’s 12-day visit to the US in May last year, she met with McCain and other members of the US Senate, including Jack Reed and Dan Sullivan.
McCain yesterday said that the delegation members and his colleagues in the US Senate remain committed to Taiwan’s security, adding that their visit is intended to reaffirm their commitment to the freedom and independence of Taiwan.
“Congress will not hesitate to act again to bolster that commitment and we urge Taiwan to meet its commitment to spend 3 percent of GDP on defense,” McCain said, adding that the TRA is still the basis of the US-Taiwan relationship and would continue to be so.
While expressing confidence in Tsai’s determination to maintain the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, McCain said Beijing also has a responsibility to refrain from taking actions that would lead to cross-strait instability and are detrimental to Taiwan’s economy and participation in the international community.
As for Taiwan’s bid to join the US-led TPP trade agreement, McCain said the US is committed to deepening the two nations’ economic relationship, pledging to do everything in its power to ensure Taiwan’s inclusion in the next round of TPP negotiations.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is aware that Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong has weakened any possible sentiment for a “one country, two systems” arrangement for Taiwan, and has instructed Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politburo member Wang Huning (王滬寧) to develop new ways of defining cross-strait relations, Japanese news magazine Nikkei Asia reported on Thursday. A former professor of international politics at Fu Dan University, Wang is expected to develop a dialogue that could serve as the foundation for cross-strait unification, and Xi plans to use the framework to support a fourth term as president, Nikkei Asia quoted an anonymous source
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