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President meets visiting U.S. congressional delegation

President Ma Ying-Jeou always looked at the ceiling while he accepted the foreigners.(file photo)

President Ma Ying-Jeou always looked at the ceiling while he accepted the foreigners.(file photo)

President Ma Ying-jeou said Friday that his government has been working hard to mend fences between top-level officials of Taiwan and the United States following eight years of strained relations under the previous Democratic Progressive Party administration.
Ma made the comments while meeting with a U.S. congressional delegation headed by Carolyn Bartholomew, vice chairwoman of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) , at the Presidential Office.
The president expressed confidence that with continued efforts, friendly relations between top officials from the two countries will soon be restored.
He also noted that his administration has been working hard to improve cross-Taiwan Strait ties since assuming office three months ago, with fruitful results.
Tension between Taiwan and China has been significantly reduced as a result of these efforts, he added.
The president noted that during his recent stopover in Los Angeles en route to Latin America for a state visit to two of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the region, he had conversations in person or over the phone with 31 members of the U.S. Congress, who all said that the positive development of cross-strait ties is in America's national interest.
The government will continue to hold talks with China on a variety of trade and transport issues, Ma went on, expressing hope that besides seeing a normalization in economic relations across the strait, the two sides will come to a truce on the international relations front for everyone's benefit.
Noting that many members of the delegation have been to Taiwan before, Ma said this visit is different from previous ones because of the fundamental changes in the cross-strait situation.
The president also expressed the hope that the U.S. administration will approve as soon as possible the sale of seven weapons systems to Taiwan that has already received the green light from Congress.
The list of arms in question includes P-3C Orion anti-submarine planes, anti-tank missiles, PAC-3 missiles, Apache helicopters, diesel powered submarines, sea-launched Harpoon missiles, and F-16 C/D fighters.
Ma called for Washington to approve the transfer in order to allow Taiwan to maintain proper defensive capabilities.
In order to show Taiwan's resolve in living up to its obligations to provide for its own defenses, the nation's defense budget will not drop to below 3 percent of gross domestic product in the future, he added.
The USCC, created in 2000 by an act of Congress, monitors, investigates and submits to Congress annual reports on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and China, and provides recommendations to Congress for legislative and administrative action when necessary.
Bartholomew was re-appointed to the commission for a fourth term in December last year by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for whom she has previously served as chief of staff.


Updated : 2021-04-14 23:26 GMT+08:00