Reopening of Taiwan office in Guam not military-related: MOFA
ROC Central News Agency
07/09/2020 07:26 PM
Taipei, July 9 (CNA) Taiwan's decision to reopen its representative office in Guam was not based on military considerations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday, following analyses to the contrary by security experts.
The office will be reopened in late August or early September to facilitate Taiwan's trade and business exchanges with Guam and the rest of the Western Pacific region and to consolidate Taiwan's relations with Pacific island countries, MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said at a press briefing.
Taiwan is also seeking to expand its maritime research in collaboration with the United States, to build on its medical cooperation with Guam, and to be better positioned to offer ready assistance to the 20,000 Taiwanese who visit Guam each year, on average, Ou said.
"Military cooperation is not one of our considerations in reopening our office in Guam," which was closed in August 2017 due to budget constraints and manpower issues, she said.
Since MOFA made the announcement on July 3, security analysts in Taiwan have said it was most likely driven by a desire for military cooperation with the U.S., in light of China's increasing military activities in the region.
Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, told CNA on July 4 that military cooperation may be one of the "core missions" of the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Guam when it reopens.
"Taiwan is likely to assign a military attache to Guam, where U.S. air force and naval bases are located, to work hand in hand with Taiwan's military attache in Hawaii," Su said.
Expressing similar views, Tung Li-wen (董立文), a researcher at Taiwan Thinktank, said recently on a television program that the decision to reopen the TECO in Guam was based on military factors, as U.S.' largest naval base in the Pacific is located on the island.
Guam, described as "tip of the spear" of U.S. defense, is home to the American Andersen Air Force Base and Naval Base Guam.
(By Chen Yun-yu and Emerson Lim)
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