Taiwan closely watches Trump’s plans for a China visit

Trump likely to visit China in November

Presidents Trump and Xi in Florida last April. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan will closely monitor United States President Donald Trump’s plans for a visit to China, the Presidential Office said Thursday.

With the nuclear missile crisis over North Korea dominating the political scene, Washington is believed to be seeking closer cooperation from Chinese leader Xi Jinping, while on the other hand, differences on trade between the two huge nations still persist.

“We will continue to pay close attention to the dialogue and exchanges between the U.S. and China, but at the same time, relations between Taiwan and the U.S. are close and friendly,” presidential spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said Thursday.

He added that Taipei and Washington would continue to communicate closely and exchange views on topics of common interest.

Lin’s remarks were apparently designed to dispel fears about Trump trading away key elements in the relationship with Taiwan in return for concessions from Xi, in particular on trying to persuade North Korea to tone down its belligerent language and nuclear threats against South Korea and the U.S.

The Presidential Office said it hoped that any dialogue between Trump and Xi would result in stabilizing the situation in East Asia, while Taiwan itself would continue its efforts on behalf of peace and stability in the region.

Trump is scheduled to attend a U.S.-ASEAN summit and an East Asia summit in the Philippines and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam in November, when the eventual visit to China will likely also take place. Trump and Xi met for the first time in Florida last April.