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President Lai eyes closer economic ties with U.S.

06/13/2024 01:51 PM
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President Lai Ching-te (right) and Former United States Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger at the Presidential Office on Thursday. CNA photo June 13, 2024
President Lai Ching-te (right) and Former United States Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger at the Presidential Office on Thursday. CNA photo June 13, 2024

Taipei, June 13 (CNA) President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) on Thursday called for increased economic and trade cooperation between Taiwan and the United States, noting it would benefit the people on both sides and ensure supply chain security.

"Deepening our connections in [trade and economics] will benefit people on both sides and ensure supply chain security," Lai said ahead of a closed-door meeting with former U.S Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger at the Presidential Office.

In particular, Lai said he looked forward to seeing the issue of double taxation being solved, as well as progress in the negotiations under the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade that was launched in June 2022.

Under the initiative, Taipei and Washington signed an initial agreement to streamline regulations on bilateral trade last year and have begun further talks on issues such as agriculture, labor, and the environment.

Lai added that these efforts would "elevate bilateral economic and trade development to new heights" and pave the way for a bilateral trade agreement.

Trade and economics aside, the president also reiterated his commitment to "bolstering Taiwan's national defense and maintaining the peace" in the Taiwan Strait, which he said is "the common desire of many people."

Taiwan will also work to deepen partnerships with the U.S. and other democracies to enhance the nation's strength and contribute to regional peace and stability, he added.

Meanwhile, Pottinger, who spoke in his capacity as a distinguished visiting fellow from the California-based think tank Hoover Institution, stressed that Taiwan must work out a strategy to deter China.

The security of Taiwan is "very intimately tied to" that of the U.S., Japan and other countries in the Indo-Pacific region, he said, while underscoring the need for "close coordination" in order to safeguard Taiwan's security.

"Deterrence is cheaper than war," said Pottinger, who served as a U.S. deputy national security advisor from 2019 to 2021 under the administration of former President Donald Trump, without going into detail on how Taiwan can achieve that.

Joined by Ivan Kanapathy, also a former U.S. National Security Council official, Pottinger is visiting Taiwan for the launch of the Chinese edition of the book, "The Boiling Moat: Urgent Steps to Defend Taiwan," to which they both contributed.

(By Wen Kuei-hsiang and Teng Pei-ju)

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