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Blinken committed to trade talks, Taiwan's inclusion at U.S. summit

ROC Central News Agency

03/11/2021 01:40 PM

Washington/Taipei, March 10 (CNA) U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said he is committed to pushing the administration of President Joe Biden to begin talks on free trade agreement negotiations with Taiwan, and for the latter to be invited to the Summit for Democracy, which the U.S. will likely host later this year.

Blinken, in his first public congressional appearance since taking office, made the statement during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington on the Biden administration's priorities for U.S. foreign policy.

He was responding to Republican lawmaker Young Kim, who asked if he was committed to pushing for Taiwan's inclusion in the Summit for Democracy and beginning talks for a free trade agreement with Taiwan, given that Taiwan is an invaluable security and global health partner of the U.S.

Kim praised Taiwan for its strong democratic system, as well as its numerous contributions to the international community and said it also deserves a seat at the World Health Organization so that it can share its expertise with the rest of the world.

"I'm absolutely committed to working on it. I share your view that Taiwan is a strong democracy, a very strong technological power and a country that can contribute to the world and not just its own people," Blinken said in response, citing the country's efforts to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic as an example.

According to foreign media reports, the Summit for Democracy was first proposed by Biden, who wished to convene the event as an opportunity to "renew the spirit and shared purpose of the nations of the Free World."

The summit, Blinken said, will likely take place toward the end of the year.

Meanwhile, in a press briefing Thursday, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) thanked Blinken for his open support for Taiwan and his recognition of Taiwan's democracy and COVID-19 prevention efforts.

"Our government will continue to work closely with Biden's administration in the fields of democracy, public health and the economy to strengthen the Taiwan-U.S. global partnership, building on the long and solid foundations" between the two sides, Ou said.

(By Stacy Hsu, Emerson Lim and Ko Lin)


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