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Loss of diplomatic ally will not affect president's trip

2016/12/21 15:29:29

Javier Ching-shan Hou (侯清山, left)

Taipei, Dec. 21 (CNA) The termination of diplomatic relations between the Republic of China and Sao Tome and Principe will not affect President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) plan to visit Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central America in January, Deputy Foreign Minister Javier Ching-shan Hou (侯清山) said Wednesday.

Hou said during a legislative interpellation session that Tsai's planned stopover in the Untied States will be made in accordance with past practice.

Hou was responding to a legislator's concerns over any possible change in Tsai's planned transit visit through the U.S. after the tiny African island country announced earlier that day that it was severing diplomatic relations with the ROC.

The severance of ties is unrelated to Tsai's Central America trip and her stopover in the U.S., Hou said.

Asked whether there will be additional restrictions imposed on Tsai's transit visit through the U.S., Hou said nothing will change and that the stopover will be made in accordance with past practice.

Hou also said that the ministry is seeking the possibility of arranging for Tsai to meet with members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives during her stopover.

After losing Sao Tome and Principe, Taiwan now has 21 diplomatic allies, mostly small countries that look to it for development aid.

Asked about the risk of losing another diplomatic ally in the two weeks before Tsai starts her overseas trip in January, Hou noted that a yellow "caution" light is flashing in regard to the ROC's formal ties with one other country, which he did not name.

During the legislative session, after hearing that ROC Ambassador to Sao Tome and Principe Her Jian-gueng (何建功) is currently in Taiwan, Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party suggested that he should not return to the country, because Taiwan will close its embassy there after the termination of formal ties.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Evelyn Kao)
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