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Taiwan thanks U.S. for Tsai's transit breakthroughs

2018/08/14 13:55:49

Taipei, Aug. 14 (CNA) Taiwan on Tuesday thanked the United States for granting President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Taiwanese media treatment that the local media described as "breakthroughs" during her two-day stopover at Los Angeles en route to Paraguay.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said the ministry expressed appreciation to the U.S side for offering such "high-level treatment" to the president.

Tsai visited the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office's (TECO) Culture Center in Los Angeles during her stopover, making her the first president from Taiwan to visit one of the country's representative offices based in the U.S.

Tsai also gave a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, her first public address in the U.S. since she took office as president.

Taiwan-based reporters traveling with the president were also allowed to file stories at the scene, which was also a first.

Previously, only U.S.-based Taiwanese reporters could report on the president's activities during a stopover, while those traveling with the president could only file their stories after leaving U.S. soil.

Asked to comment, Lee said such convenience given to Taiwanese journalists is helpful to readers who are closely following the president's overseas trip, and he hoped such treatment would continue in the future.

But Lee also said the "breakthroughs" had little to do with the Taiwan Travel Act signed into law in March by U.S. President Donald Trump, which promotes reciprocal visits by senior government officials of both sides.

Such treatment is based on a long-standing consensus and mutual trust, Lee added.

Asked to comment on whether the treatment given Tsai on her stopover in Los Angeles indicated that bilateral relations were better than ever, AIT spokesperson Amanda Mansour reiterated the U.S.'s stance on the matter.

"The arrangements for these transits are undertaken out of consideration for the safety, comfort, convenience and dignity of the passengers, and are in line with our One China policy," she told CNA.

After her stopover in L.A., Tsai departed Monday evening for Paraguay, where she will attend the inauguration of President-elect Mario Abdo Benitez on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Tsai will head to Belize for a three-day visit, during which she will be decorated by Governor-General Colville Young and will meet with Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

On the return leg of her nine-day trip, Tsai will make a 27-hour transit stop in the U.S. city of Houston on Aug. 18.

(By Joseph Yeh)
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