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Taiwan-U.S. military cooperation now 'best in history': president

ROC Central News Agency

2015/12/17 20:33:29

Taipei, Dec. 17 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said Thursday that the current level of military cooperation between Taiwan and the United States is the 'best in history.'

Speaking during a meeting with the presidents and vice presidents of the five branches of government, Ma noted that the U.S. government has just announced a US$1.83 billion arms sale package to Taiwan, the fourth major weapons sale since he took office in 2008.

He said the total value of the four packages has exceeded US$20 billion, more than any period before or after the United States severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Speaking on the Jan. 16 presidential and legislative elections, Ma said regardless of the results of the elections, the government will operate as normal.

He said there will be no such thing as a 'caretaker government' or 'lame duck government.' The government will do whatever is required of it according to the law, he added.

On cross-Taiwan Strait relations, Ma said his Nov. 7 meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore was helpful in boosting relations between the two sides. It built a bridge of peace across the Taiwan Strait and established a new model that allows leaders of both sides to hold talks with each other on an equal footing and with dignity, he said.

On the South China Sea issues, he mentioned that Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen (陳威仁) led a group of government officials to Taiping Island, the largest of the disputed Spratly Islands controlled by Taiwan, on Dec. 12.

He said the island, which spans 49 hectares, has fresh water and land for planting vegetables and raising livestock.

In addition to solar power facilities, there is a 10-bed hospital with doctors and nursing staff on the island, he said, adding that the hospital has so far treated 21 emergency patients, including those from the Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Y.F. Low)

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