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Ma welcomes reports of new development in U.S. arms sales to Taiwan

ROC Central News Agency

2010/01/12 16:14:11

Taipei, Jan. 12 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou on Tuesday welcomed U.S. news reports that there will probably be a "new development" in Washington's decisions on arms sales to Taiwan.

"We will be pleased and look forward to such development, " Ma said to a delegation from a Washington D.C. think-tank, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

The president said that by selling defensive weaponry systems to Taiwan, Washington not only fulfills its obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act, but also helps to secure stability in the Taiwan Strait.

"The arms sales also help Taiwan become more confident in the process of engagement with mainland China, " Ma told the visiting delegation, which is being led by AEI President Arthur Brooks.

The arms sales policy is imperative, the president said, expressing appreciation to the U.S. government for remaining firm in its commitment to Taiwan. This has contributed over the past several decades to stability and prosperity in the region, he added.

Meanwhile, he noted that as a result of democratization, Taiwan has in recent decades developed increasingly closer relations with think-tanks like the AEI.

The president also paid tribute to U.S. diplomat James Lilley, who passed away last November at the age of 81.

He recalled that not long after Lilley assumed his post as director of the American Institute in Taiwan, Taipei Office, Washington and Beijing released a joint communique on Aug. 17, 1982 mainly to restrict military sales to Taiwan.

Ma said he was at Lilley's residence that night for dinner and learned a lot from Lilley as he demonstrated his wisdom and sophistication in crisis management," the president said.

(By Lee Shu-hua and Deborah Kuo) ENDITEM /pc

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