Taiwan closely monitors U.S.-China tensions: President Tsai

07/23/2020 08:40 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen. CNA Photo
President Tsai Ing-wen. CNA Photo

Taipei, July 23 (CNA) Taiwan's government will closely monitor the development of the latest round of the Washington-Beijing frictions and take necessary actions to respond to the situation, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said on Thursday.

Tsai's statement was in response to media questions on the U.S. State Department's recent order to shut down China's consular office in Houston "in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans' private information."

The U.S.'s move angered Beijing, which vowed to "react with firm countermeasures," as U.S. President Donald Trump hinted on Wednesday that more Chinese consulates could be closed.

The escalating of tensions between the U.S. and China has worries some sectors in Taiwan, fearing that the island could be caught between the struggles of the two major powers and suffer.

"We continue to closely monitor the developments of the matter," Tsai told reporters in an interview after attending the opening ceremony of the BIO Asia-Taiwan Exhibition in Taipei, referring to Washington's order that the Chinese consulate in Houston close.

"We will take corresponding measures when necessary," she said. "The dispute not only could impact the U.S.-China relationship but could also affect many countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well."

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) echoed Tsai's position, adding that it respects Washington's decision.

"We believed the U.S. made its professional judgement based on information at hand," MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said Thursday in a regular press conference.

"We respect the U.S.'s decision regarding this matter. We don't have further comment," she said.

Pressed by reporters on what could be Taiwan's response to the situation, Ou said she will not comment on hypothetical questions as it will depend on the actual development on the ground.

Meanwhile, U.S. Republican Senator Marco Rubio wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday that China's consulate in Houston must close because it is the "central node of the Communist Party's vast network of spies and influence operations in the United States."

(By Emerson Lim)

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