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Taiwan-U.S. ties at best in 40 years: Taiwan's U.S. representative

2019/01/02 11:57:17

Washington, Jan. 1 (CNA) Taiwan-U.S. relations are at their best since Washington cut formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979, Taiwan's representative to the United States Stanley Kao (高碩泰) said Tuesday, and he was confident the strong ties would continue in 2019.

But when asked about reports of President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) intention to visit Washington this year, Kao said he had no knowledge of any such plans.

Kao made the comments while talking about the current state of Taiwan-U.S. relations after a national flag raising ceremony to celebrate New Year's Day that drew 600 overseas Taiwanese in the Washington metropolitan area.

Taiwan suffered a major diplomatic setback 40 years ago on Jan. 1 when the U.S. severed official relations, Kao said, but on the same day this year, "we have so many reasons to be happy and proud."

Through joint efforts, Taiwan and the U.S. achieved a lot in furthering positive bilateral relations in 2018, including increased support for Taiwan in the U.S. Congress, Kao said.

The Congress passed the Taiwan Travel Act, which encourages mutual visits by high-ranking Taiwanese and American officials, and the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes provisions to help Taiwan strengthen its defense capabilities, Kao said.

In addition, U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday signed into law the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA) of 2018, which includes a section reaffirming the U.S. commitment to Taiwan, particularly regarding arms sales, according to Kao.

Through these bills, the U.S. reaffirmed the irreplaceable partnerships between the two countries on the economy and trade, science and technology, and national defense and security, Kao said.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which provides the legal basis for the unofficial relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan, Kao said, and he expected the TRA, the Taiwan Travel Act and the ARIA to shape the framework that strengthens Taiwan-U.S. ties over the next 40 years.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Evelyn Kao)