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Ma, US delegations' meeting touches on submarine, islands
Publication Date : 29-01-2013
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that the Navy's Hai Shih submarine, which was purchased from the US in the 1970s, needs to be replaced, during a meeting with US House members at the Presidential Office.
On Sunday, US Representative Ed Royce visited Southern Taiwan and was shown the aforementioned submarine, according to local reports.
“The submarine was commissioned more than 40 years ago while I was serving in the Navy ... there is a definite necessity for it to be replaced,” Ma said.
The president said that US-Taiwan ties have improved significantly during the past five years, and that the relationship has reached a 30-year high.
Taiwan-US cooperation goes beyond military-related issues, Ma said, adding that the island has cooperated with the US over issues such as counterterrorism, anti-nuclear proliferation and prevention of human trafficking.
The Legislature resolved in July last year to allow US beef imports containing ractopamine, paving the way for the resumption of long-stalled talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), Ma said.
The president went on to say that TIFA talks are expected to resume soon, which will mark a milestone in terms of Taiwan-US relations.
Ma further said that the government ultimately hopes to take part in the Trans-Pacific Partnership after the resumption of TIFA talks.
The government is currently working on economic cooperation agreements with Singapore and New Zealand, in order to facilitate trade liberalisation, Ma said.
Sovereignty Indisputable, But Resources Can Be Shared: Ma
On a another note, the president reiterated Taiwan's sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands.
Ma said that although the Diaoyutais are an inseparable part of the Republic of China, he believes that the island chain's resources can be shared, and that is why he proposed the East China Sea Peace Initiative.
Given that mainland China and Japan have become more and more aggressive in asserting their claim over the Diaoyutais, regional tensions have risen significantly.
“A lot of Americans are unaware of the fact that these islets belong to Taiwan,” Ma said, adding that the Diaoyutais are much closer to Taiwan than they are to mainland China or Japan.
“The Republic of China is one of the claimants ... However, we propose to end the disputes through peaceful means.”
Taiwan proposed its peace initiative on August 5, 2012, long before the Japanese government “nationalised” the islets, the president added.