TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Thursday (Aug. 22), the U.S. Navy research vessel the R/V Sally Ride made port in Taiwan’s Keelung, where it will stay until Sept. 2, reports CNA.
The R/V Sally Ride will be conducting joint research with scientists at National Taiwan University. On the morning of Friday (Aug. 23), President Tsai mentioned the Sally Ride’s arrival in Taiwan, noting that the visit represents scientific cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan.
The Liberty Times reports that many people in Keelung were surprised and delighted to see the Taiwan flag being flown aboard the vessel at the Port of Keelung.
In a speech on Friday, right after her remark about the R/V Sally Ride, President Tsai also commented on the sale of F-16 fighter jets recently approved by Washington for sale to Taipei. This prompted speculation that the naval vessel’s port call might be related to sale.
The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) released a statement on Friday clarifying that there was no connection between the ship’s visit and the sale of the fighter jets earlier in the week. "I can tell you that it's definitely not related to the F-16 sale," said AIT spokeswoman Amanda Mansour, as quoted by CNA.
The R/V Sally Ride is owned by the U.S. Office of Naval Research and operated in cooperation with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.