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Foreign minister meets U.S. congressmen on F-16C/D sale

Foreign minister meets U.S. congressmen on F-16C/D sale

Washington, Jan. 8 (CNA) Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang met with two U.S. congressmen during a recent transit stop in Miami to lobby their support for the country's F-16 C/D fighter procurement plan, diplomatic sources said Sunday. Yang met Jan. 5 with Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), a co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Taiwan Caucus, and David Rivera (R-Fla.), a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, during a transit stop on his way to the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia, the sources said. During their meeting, Yang said Taiwan must have a strong military to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait, citing the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who famously said that the U.S. should maintain peace through strength. Yang thanked the two congressmen for their support for Taiwan's arms procurement projects in the past and expressed his hope that they will continue to support Taiwan's bid to procure advanced F-16 C/D jet fighters. In response, Diaz-Balart and Rivera promised to push the U.S. administration to deliver on its security commitments to Taiwan, including the sale of the F-16 C/Ds. Yang also exchanged views with the two House members on a range of issues of mutual concern, such as the East Asian situation, the Republican presidential primaries and Taiwan's Jan. 14 presidential election. They all agreed that the U.S. should strengthen its defense force in the West Pacific area to cement regional peace and democratic development and that priority should be given to maintaining cross-Taiwan Strait peace and stability, the sources said. Both Diaz-Balart and Rivera have on many occasions backed Taiwan's bids to join major international organizations and activities and have signed joint letters to push the U.S. executive branch to sell Taiwan F-16 C/Ds. Yang's Jan. 5-8 visit to St. Lucia was the first stop in a series of official visits that will also take him to three of Taiwan's other diplomatic allies -- Nicaragua, Guatemala and The Gambia. The foreign minister will attend presidential inauguration ceremonies for Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega Jan. 10, Guatemalan President- elect Otto Perez Jan. 14 and Gambian President Yahya J.J. Jammeh Jan. 19 as President Ma Ying-jeou's special envoy. He is scheduled to return home Jan. 21. (By Tony Liao and Sofia Wu)


Updated : 2020-12-02 05:48 GMT+08:00