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Taiwan seeks to boost ties with U.S.: vice president

2019/07/08 19:16:35

Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁/CNA file photo)

Taipei, July 8 (CNA) Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) on Monday called the United States an important ally of Taiwan, and he hoped the relationship between the two countries could continue to grow and get stronger.

Speaking at the U.S.'s "243rd Independence Day" reception hosted by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Chen said Taiwan will stand with the U.S. and the international community and do its utmost to defend the universal values of democracy, freedom and human rights.

The day's event was also about marking 2019 as the "U.S.-Taiwan Travel Year" as designated by the AIT as part of the Taiwan Relations Act's 40th anniversary celebration.

Chen and other speakers lauded the travel ties between the two countries, helped by Taiwan's admission to the Visa Waiver Program.

"Since Taiwan joined the Visa Waiver Program in 2012, the number of Taiwan travelers to the United States annually has increased by over 60 percent. On any given day, there are over 17,000 U.S. tourists visiting Taiwan," AIT Director Brent Christensen said.

U.S. and Taiwan travelers took more than 1 million trips between the two locations in 2018, he said.

At the event, Chen also praised the launch of a new dialogue mechanism earlier this year titled "Indo-Pacific Democratic Governance Consultations" that aim to promote closer bilateral cooperation and pursue joint projects to help regional partners.

According to the AIT, the first consultation will be held in September when a U.S. delegation, led by a senior official from the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, is expected to visit Taipei.

The event, held at the Grand Hyatt Taipei, was also attended by former Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), National Security Council Secretary-General David Lee (李大維), Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), and Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津).

(By Yeh Su-ping and Ko Lin)