London, March 14 (CNA) Taiwan's newly appointed representative to the United States is eager to promote and strengthen bilateral ties by pursuing mutual interests and working with "old friends" in the U.S. Congress, he told CNA Friday.
Shen Lyushun, who currently serves as the Republic of China (Taiwan)'s representative to Great Britain, is set to take up his new post in Washington, D.C. in April. As a diplomat, Shen said his top priority is Taiwan's interests and he will ensure the U.S. government understands ties with Taiwan are beneficial to both countries, citing President Ma Ying-jeou's interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed free trade bloc, as an example. While there are outstanding issues between the two, such as disagreements over imports of U.S. beef, Shen is confident that there will be room for improving relations as long as both sides can see a bigger, mutually beneficial goal. Shen also spoke of his ties with U.S. lawmakers. As a former vice foreign minister and deputy representative to the United States, Shen said he has some old friends still serving in Congress and others who have passed the baton to the next generation, such as Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, daughter of former senator and long-time Taiwan supporter Frank Murkowski. He also named Representative John Sarbanes from Maryland, son of former Senator Paul Sarbanes, while noting that several members of Congress have visited Taiwan or been stationed on the island in the past, which he believes will be helpful to his diplomatic tasks. Shen is set to head straight to Washington from London on April 1.
(By Jennifer Huang and Lilian Wu)