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Re-elected Ma vows to strengthen U.S.-Taiwan ties

ROC Central News Agency

2012/01/15 16:36:04

Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou stressed Sunday that further strengthening bilateral ties between Taiwan and the United States will be one of the most important goals of his new administration over the next four years.

At a meeting with a U.S. delegation at the Presidential Office, Ma said his administration will continue to seek the acquisition of F-16 C/D jet fighters to upgrade Taiwan's fighter fleet, resolve the U.S. beef imports issue, and restart talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

He said he has received congratulations upon his re-election from the White House, the European Union, Japan, Canada, Singapore and other nations -- all saluting Taiwan for successfully completing another democratic election.

In its congratulatory statement, the U.S. government pledged to continue to work together with Taiwan to advance many common interests, including expanding trade and investment ties, he said.

Washington also lauded the closer ties that have been seen across the Taiwan Strait over the past three years, a development that has also benefited U.S.-Taiwan relations, Ma cited the statement as saying.

He said U.S.-Taiwan relations have become increasingly closer and more stable over the past three years, evidenced by many measures taken by Washington, such as including Taiwan as a candidate in the U.S. visa waiver program.

Taiwan also welcomed the latest U.S. decision to keep its defense spending in the Asia-Pacific region unchanged despite cutting back its overall defense spending by US$487 billion over the next 10 years, Ma said.

One of the visitors was Douglas Paal, a former director of the American Institute in Taiwan's (AIT's) Taipei office, who was criticized by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party for trying to interfere in Saturday's presidential election by favoring Ma's approach toward China in a television interview on Jan. 12.

Paal, who was in Taiwan to observe the Taiwan's election, called Ma's "1992 consensus" an "effective" means and "creative formulation," while describing DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen's proposed "Taiwan consensus" as "not possible."

(By Lee Shu-hua and Deborah Kuo)

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