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Former U.S. deputy state secretary recommends Trump-Tsai meeting

2018/03/17 17:58:24

CNA file photo

Washington, March 16 (CNA) Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage recommended in a paper published by a Washington-based think tank Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), as well as Cabinet-level officials from both sides, should meet each other to discuss issues of mutual interest.

In a paper co-authored by think tank Project 2049 Institute's Ian Easton and Mark Stokes, Armitage made key policy recommendations for U.S.-Taiwan relations, one of which is that Trump and Tsai should have a face-to-face meeting.

Such a meeting, suggested by the authors of the paper titled "U.S.-Taiwan Relations in a Sea of Change," would address issues of shared interest and concern, and would shatter longstanding practice that dates back to 1979 when the two countries severed official diplomatic ties.

It would also have far greater implications for the U.S., Taiwan and China than the phone call between Tsai and Trump Dec. 2, 2016, when the latter was still president-elect, which made headlines around the world.

The recommendation, however, is in line with the Taiwan Travel Act that was signed into law by Trump Friday and encourages visits between government officials of the two countries at all levels.

Other policy recommendations are all geared toward how the U.S. can be more active in its relationship with Taiwan, including starting negotiations on a free trade agreement with Taiwan, standardizing the process through which Taiwan can request arms sales, and a joint working plan for bilateral defense and security relations.

Since news broke of Trump's signing of the travel act, Taiwan has vowed to strengthen ties with the U.S.

Stanley Kao (高碩泰), Taiwan's representative to the U.S., said he is looking forward to more interaction between the two countries.

The representative office is making it its mission to deepen Taiwan-U.S. relations through these potential high-level official exchange visits, he noted.

(By Rita Cheng, Leaf Chiang and Kuan-lin Liu)