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U.S. encourages cross-strait dialogue: official

U.S. encourages cross-strait dialogue: official

Washington, March 14 (CNA) A senior U.S. official on Friday reaffirmed his government's support for Taiwan's defensive needs and its ability to engage in dialogue with China free from coercion. Consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States has helped to strengthen Taiwan's deterrence capabilities by providing it with defensive materials and services, said Kin Moy, deputy assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific. "Our support for Taiwan's democracy, human rights, and defensive needs has given Taiwan confidence in engagements with mainland China ... The United States continues to support such cross-strait dialogues and remains committed to supporting Taiwan's ability to engage in such discourse free from coercion," Kin said in his written testimony submitted to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The committee held a hearing on "The Promise of the Taiwan Relations Act" to mark the upcoming 35th anniversary of the law, which governs the unofficial ties between Washington and Taipei and U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. With China continuing its military deployments and exercises aimed at Taiwan, it is "more important than ever" for Taiwan to build a professional military force using asymmetry, innovation and independent thinking, said Moy. Over the past five years, he noted, the administration of President Barack Obama has notified Congress of over US$12 billion-worth of arms sales to Taiwan. "This is a tangible sign of the seriousness with which we regard Taiwan's security," he said. In Taipei, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it appreciates and welcomes remarks made by Moy and members of Congress during the hearing. It said such remarks demonstrate the importance attached by United States to its relations with Taiwan. Moy said maintaining and deepening relations with Taiwan is an important part of the U.S. strategic rebalance to focus more on the Asia Pacific region and that the U.S.-Taiwan relationship has "never been stronger than it is today." In 2013, Taiwan was the 16th largest export market for U.S. goods and the eighth largest export market for U.S. agriculture, fish and forestry products, he pointed out. Also, Taiwan remained the sixth largest source of international students in the United States through the 2012-2013 academic year, he said. On Taiwan's efforts to expand its international space, Moy reiterated that Washington supports including Taiwan in international organizations that do not require statehood for membership and encourages Taiwan's meaningful participation in other global groupings. He also said the United States welcomes Taiwan's interest in joining the regional free trade group called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). (By Tony Liao, Tang Pei-chun and Y.F. Low)


Updated : 2021-03-08 00:49 GMT+08:00