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U.S. maintains 'abiding interest' in cross-strait peace: AIT

2019/10/16 17:41:06

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, standing) at the Presidential Office and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty (left, seated)

Taipei, Oct. 16 (CNA) The head of the U.S. de facto diplomatic mission in Taiwan asserted Washington's "abiding interest" in cross-strait peace and stability Wednesday and described China's continuous hostile moves against the island as an attempt to alter the status quo in the region.

"The U.S. views Taiwan security as central to the security of the Indo-Pacific region, and continues to have an abiding interest in cross-strait peace and stability," American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty said Wednesday during his call to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the Presidential Office.

Moriarty, who is undertaking a 6-day visit to Taiwan, also said that the U.S. is "deeply troubled" by the unrelenting political, economic, and military pressure that Beijing is exerting on Taiwan, referring to it as an attempt to alter the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.

"The U.S. opposes unilateral attempts to alter the status quo because they undermine the regional framework that has enabled peace, stability, and development for decades," he said.

Beijing poached two of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the Pacific, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati, in third week of September. In addition, China has been intimidating Taiwan by encirclement flights of military planes, military exercises and harsh rhetoric.

In terms of tourism, Beijing prohibited individual tourists from 47 Chinese cities visiting Taiwan in August.

Taiwan has also been unable to participate in the activities of many international organizations, such as sessions of the World Health Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Criminal Police Organization, among others, due to China's opposition.

On the other hand, Moriarty lauded significant advances in the U.S.-Taiwan relationship, citing the opening of AIT's new complex in Taipei and U.S. plans to sell new F-16s to Taiwan as examples.

He described Taiwan as the first line of defense for democratic values and a valued partner in addressing key regional challenges.

"As a democratic success story and a force for good in the world, Taiwan is a natural partner of the United States," he said.

Meanwhile, Tsai said Taiwan-U.S. relations are "at their best" for decades as the two countries celebrate the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), domestic legislation that serves as a basis for the U.S. to maintain substantive relations with Taiwan after Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

Tsai mentioned that Taiwan sent an agricultural procurement delegation to the U.S. in September, and plans to buy agricultural products worth US$3.7 billion over the next two years

She also said that Taiwan hopes to begin negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement as soon as possible, to further bolster trade between the two countries.

(By Emerson Lim)
Enditem/AW