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U.S. representative welcomes Tsai in Miami, voices support for Taiwan

2016/06/26 12:53:29

Washington, June 25 (CNA) The chairwoman emeritus of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, welcomed Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) Saturday in Miami, Florida, expressing her support for Taiwan and hope for the two nations to become better friends and allies.

In a statement she issued after meeting Tsai, Representative Ros-Lehtinen expressed her delight over her meeting with Tsai. Both Ros-Lehtinen and Tsai discussed the importance of the U.S.-Taiwan bilateral relationship.

"Taiwan is a beacon of freedom, a key strategic ally in the Pacific, and the United States must make sure that Taiwan has what it needs to flourish economically and militarily," Rose-Lehtinen said.

"As we confront the many common challenges before us, including an increasingly aggressive China, I look forward to continuing to work closely with President Tsai to strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan partnership based on the Taiwan Relations Act and Six Assurances, and allow our two nations to become even better friends and allies," she said.

The congresswoman also posted on her Twitter page a photo of a bronze sculpture titled "Wings of Freedom," which she received from Tsai as a gift, and other photos of her posing with Tsai. She wrote a comment that they will continue to work together for freedom.

The sculpture was created by Taiwanese artist Lin Wen-teh (林文德, 1947-2015). On the bottom of the sculpture, there are handwritten Chinese words by late Taiwanese pro-democracy activist Cheng Nan-jung (鄭南榕) that read "Fighting for 100% freedom."

Ros-Lehtinen, born in Cuba, was the first Cuban American and Latina elected to Congress. She is known for her long-term fight for global freedom and democracy, as well as her support for Taiwan.

Tsai had also met with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and Taiwanese professional baseball pitcher Wei-yin Chen (陳偉殷) in Miami, before she continued her journey to Panama. Chen is currently with the Miami Marlins.

The president flew from Taiwan to Miami Friday for a transit stop on her first overseas visit since taking office in May.

In Panama, Tsai will attend the June 26 inauguration ceremony for the expanded Panama Canal.

Speaking of Tsai's meeting with Chen, Deputy Secretary-General of the Presidential Office Tseng Hou-jen (曾厚仁) said on the special flight Tsai took to travel to Panama that it was a "very warm meeting," in which six lawmakers accompanying Tsai on the trip were also present.

Tsai had asked Chen to autograph several baseballs for her, and asked him if he would be nervous when he was called to pitch even though he has already been a veteran in battle, Tseng said.

To the cat-loving president, Chen gave six pet bowls and a jersey embroidered with his last name and the number 54 as a gift.

Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said the six bowls are for Tsai's two pet cats and three retired guide dogs that Tsai adopted. The animals will stay with her after she moves into the Presidential Residence in the near future.

(By Tony Liao, Sophia Yeh and Elizabeth Hsu)
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