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President meets U.S. energy secretary in Paraguay

President meets U.S. energy secretary in Paraguay

Asuncion, Paraguay, Aug. 15 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou met several foreign dignitaries, including U.S. Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz, in Paraguay Wednesday. During the encounter at a farewell dinner held in honor of outgoing Paraguayan President Federico Franco, Ma discussed the United States' nuclear power policy with Moniz, according to Republic of China Ambassador to Paraguay Liu Der-li. The energy secretary told Ma that his country does not have a zero-nuclear policy, although it is increasing its use of solar, wind and geothermal energy to reduce carbon emissions. By 2017, the United States will have completed another four nuclear power plants, Moniz said. Ma also chatted with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and expressed his condolences to Crown Prince Felipe of Spain over the death of 79 people in a high-speed train crash in his country July 24. Ma had met the prince several times before, the latest of which was during the installation mass for Pope Francis in March. On Thursday, Ma will attend the inauguration of Paraguayan President-elect Horacio Cartes, during which he will sit next to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, according to Liu. Earlier Wednesday, Ma told Taiwanese reporters covering his tour that he will work toward the goal of attending the annual leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in person, although he admitted that the conditions for him to do so are still not ripe. Due to China's opposition, Taiwan's top leader is barred from attending APEC leaders' meetings and has to send a proxy to attend the annual meeting on his behalf. Ma has appointed former Vice President Lien Chan to represent him at the event for five consecutive years since becoming president in 2008. The president said such a policy is unfair to Taiwan, which is one of APEC's 21 member economies. Taiwan, however, has no choice but to accept it because all the other APEC members are diplomatic allies of China and recognize Beijing's "one China" principle, he said. On Taiwan's bid to participate in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Ma said he discussed the issue with almost every American friend he met or talked to during his transit stop in New York earlier this week and that the government will continue to work on the matter. Although he was able to engage in higher-profile activities in New York this time than in previous stopovers in the United States, Ma said he does not feel self-complacent about it. He said the government has no intention of making a fuss over such stopovers and aims to "go with the flow," which he said is the key to obtaining the trust of the U.S. government. On criticism over what some media has described as his submissive style, the president said he sometimes finds it hard to accommodate the media's preference for fanfare because he needs to show consideration for the feelings and restrictions set by the host country. In fact, he said, Taiwan's economic and security relations with the United States have grown increasingly closer over the past five years, and some officials have described them as "even closer than before the diplomatic ties were cut off between the two countries." He pointed out that since 2008, the U.S. government has approved three arms sale packages worth a total of US$18.3 billion to Taiwan, the highest number over the last two decades. In yet another example, Ma noted that U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Resources Kathleen Sebelius spoke in support of Taiwan over the country's designation in the World Health Organization in 2011, saying that no U.N. organization has the right to unilaterally determine Taiwan's status. (By Kelven Huang and Y.F. Low)


Updated : 2021-07-30 00:48 GMT+08:00