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U.S., Japan congratulate Lai on his inauguration as president

05/20/2024 03:29 PM
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CNA photo May 20, 2024
CNA photo May 20, 2024

Taipei, May 20 (CNA) The United States and Japan extended their congratulations to President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) on his inauguration Monday as Taiwan's president and expressed the hope that efforts to enhance bilateral relations will continue under the new administration.

In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken extended the U.S. government's congratulations to Lai, who on Monday morning was sworn in as the fifth popularly elected president of the Republic of China (ROC), Taiwan's official name.

"We also congratulate the Taiwan people for once again demonstrating the strength of their robust and resilient democratic system," Blinken said.

The statement said the partnership between the American and Taiwan people is rooted in democratic values and has continued to "broaden and deepen across trade, economic, cultural, and people-to-people ties."

Washington also commended former President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for strengthening ties between the two sides over the past eight years, the statement said.

"We look forward to working with President Lai and across Taiwan's political spectrum to advance our shared interests and values, deepen our longstanding unofficial relationship, and maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," it said.

Beyond the congratulatory message, the U.S. also sent an unofficial delegation to Taiwan for the inauguration.

The delegation included two former government officials, ex-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Brian Deese, ex-assistant to the president and director of the National Economic Council.

Sitting American Institute in Taiwan Chair Laura Rosenberger converse with Brian Deese, ex-assistant to the President of the United States and director of the National Economic Council. CNA photo May 20, 2024
Sitting American Institute in Taiwan Chair Laura Rosenberger converse with Brian Deese, ex-assistant to the President of the United States and director of the National Economic Council. CNA photo May 20, 2024

The Japanese government on Monday issued a similar congratulatory message to Lai on his inauguration.

At a regular news briefing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi congratulated Lai on his presidential inauguration and expressed the hope that the friendship between Japan and Taiwan will continue to deepen.

Taiwan is a "very important partner and friend" of Japan, and Taiwan and Japan have shared values and enjoy close economic ties and personnel exchanges, Hayashi said when asked to comment on Lai's inauguration.

"We would like to further deepen and evolve bilateral ties," he said.

The Japanese delegation attending Lai's inauguration was led by Japan-ROC Diet Members' Consultative Council Chairman Furuya Keiji and consisted of 35 Japanese parliamentarians.

President Lai Ching-te hosts a luncheon on Monday for a Japanese delegation who is visiting Taiwan for Lai's inauguration. CNA photo May 20, 2024
President Lai Ching-te hosts a luncheon on Monday for a Japanese delegation who is visiting Taiwan for Lai's inauguration. CNA photo May 20, 2024

The council is comprised of more than 260 Japanese lawmakers from different political parties with the aim of promoting closer Japan-Taiwan relations.

Akie Abe, the widow of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was also in Taiwan for Lai's inauguration.

In all, 51 groups comprising 508 foreign dignitaries are attending the inauguration ceremony and related activities on May 20.

Among them, 12 groups are from countries that formally recognized the ROC.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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