U.S.-Taiwan ties vital to peace in Asia Pacific: President Tsai

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President Tsai Ing-wen lays a wreath to the troops who lost their lives in the attack on the battleship by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor memorial on Oct. 28, 2017. (CNA)

HONOLULU (CNA) – President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Saturday Taiwan’s ties with the United States have never been stronger and that the partnership was important to maintain peace in Asia.

Speaking at a seminar at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Tsai said she welcomed the U.S.’ commitment to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Taiwan can clearly see this commitment as U.S. President Donald Trump is about to visit China, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam from Nov. 3-14, she said.

The U.S. must secure strong and stable partnerships with its allies and friends in the Asia Pacific region, including Taiwan, in order to maintain peace and security in the region, she said.

Tsai attended the seminar in Honolulu during a transit stop en route to the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands – three of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the Pacific that she is visiting Oct. 28-Nov. 4.

She expressed appreciation for the U.S.’ arrangements for her stopovers on its territory and said relations between Taiwan and the U.S. have been getting increasingly better.

Taiwan will continue to increase its defense budget in the years to come and step up bilateral trade and investment links with the U.S., Tsai said.

Later in the day, she visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, which marks the resting place of 1,177 sailors and Marines who were killed in an attack on the battleship by the Japanese on Dec. 7, 1941.

Accompanied by American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty, the president laid a wreath at the memorial to the troops who lost their lives in the attack.

At noon, Tsai attended a luncheon hosted by Taiwanese expatriates in Honolulu and called for a closer relationship between Taiwan and the U.S., Hawaii in particular.

She said her visit to the three diplomatic allies was in line with the Taiwanese people’s wish to reach out to the world, and that she hoped to forge a solid cooperative partnership with Taiwan’s friends in the Pacific to create peace and prosperity in the region. 

By Lu Hsin-hui and Flor Wang