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President Tsai thanks U.S. for transit arrangements

ROC Central News Agency

2018/08/18 15:04:13

Belize City, Aug. 17 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is at the final stop of her nine-day overseas trip, said on Friday that she was grateful to the United States for arranging her stopovers in two U.S. cities.

Tsai arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday in one of the two stopovers before she headed to Paraguay and Belize, two of Taiwan's 18 diplomatic allies. On her return trip, Tsai will depart for Houston on Saturday for a 27-hour transit on U.S. soil.

Speaking with the press accompanying her during the trip, Tsai said Washington this time followed its four existing principles to provide to travelers "safety, comfort, convenience and dignity" as it has done in the past.

"I am grateful for the arrangement from the U.S. for the stopovers," Tsai said. "I think the press accompanying me on the trip felt the most about the convenience for reporting provided by the U.S. government," Tsai said.

The Taiwanese media has described Tsai's stopovers in the U.S. during the trip to Paraguay and Belize as a "breakthrough" as Washington gave a so-called high level treatment to the president.

When Tsai stopped over in Los Angeles, she visited the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office's (TECO) Culture Center in Los Angeles, making her the first Taiwanese president to visit one of the country's representative offices based in the U.S.

Tsai also gave a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, her first public address in the U.S. since she took office as president.

Taiwan-based reporters traveling with the president were also allowed to file stories before leaving the U.S., and were not restricted to filing only after departing U.S. territory, as was the case in the past.

Previously, only U.S.-based Taiwanese reporters could report on the president's activities during a stopover, while those traveling with the president could only file their stories after leaving U.S. soil.

"I do not care about how the arrangement by the U.S. has been described by others," Tsai said. "I am just talking about what happened during my stopover in the U.S."

"I have to say stopovers in the U.S. during the trip en route to Central and South America are an important arrangement to us," Tsai said.

Tsai did not answer the question raised by CNA about whether she looked forward to a stopover in Washington D.C. during her future overseas visits.

Tsai said what impressed her the most during the trip was that she had a chance to exchange views with the leaders of other countries during the inauguration ceremony of Paraguay President Mario Abdo Benitez.

Tsai said she held bilateral meetings with the leaders attending the inauguration ceremony and through such talks, Taiwan was provided with a luxury of flexibility to find a better way to enhance ties with these countries.

The president said Taiwan needs tailor-made plans to strengthen cooperation with different allies for different needs in a bid to reach a goal of mutual benefits in the future.

(By Yeh Su-ping, Joseph Yeh and Frances Huang)

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