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Taiwan will respect U.S. decision on port calls: foreign minister

2017/12/14 17:35:16

Taipei, Dec. 14 (CNA) Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維) said during a legislative hearing Thursday that his ministry is thankful for the support of the U.S. Congress in passing a piece of legislation that would facilitate port calls between the U.S. Navy and the Taiwan Navy.

Lee said Taiwan will respect the U.S. government's decision on whether to put such a provision into practice.

Lee, who was asked by multiple lawmakers about the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law two days ago, said that his ministry is thankful for Congress's support in introducing and passing a clause that would allow the U.S. to look at the possibility of re-establishing regular port calls between the U.S. and Taiwan navies.

Several provisions in the NDAA call for the strengthening of the U.S. defense partnership with Taiwan, which prompted legislators to ask whether the Presidential Office would support such strengthened cooperation.

In response, Presidential Office Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said that Taiwan wishes to deepen military collaboration with the U.S., but he noted that this is not at odds with hopes for a peaceful relationship with China.

Especially when it comes to the idea of navy port calls, Wu said that everything is still hypothetical at the moment.

The U.S. government's stance on the issue is not known, but if there are discussions, Taiwan would make a decision that would balance the country's military considerations and the region's peace and stability, he said.

Both Lee and Wu have dismissed threats of violence that Chinese diplomat Li Kexin (李克新) has made in response to the idea of potential port calls by the U.S. Navy in Taiwan, calling the comments unconducive to the development of cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

The secretary-general pointed out that Li's comments were a single voice and differed from remarks other Chinese government officials have made about the issue since.

(By Elaine Hou, Yeh Su-ping and Kuan-lin Liu)