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Taiwan paid high political price over US beef issue, says Ma Ying-jeou
Publication Date : 16-01-2013
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday met with US Senator Lisa Murkowski, and said that the administration has paid a great political price to solve the US beef issue, indicating the government's determination to pursue trade liberalisation.
The president also explained that cross-strait ties and the development of Taiwan-US relations are complimentary rather than contradictory, and that the ROC will not exclude the possibility of future arms deals with the US, while continuing to improve its ties with mainland China.
Ma stressed that a peaceful resolution between the two sides of the Strait remains Taiwan's first line of national defense.
In September 2012, US State Secretary Hillary Clinton told former Vice President Lien Chan that trade talks between Washington and Taipei would likely begin soon, Ma said.
The president added that during his term in office, the US had agreed to sell Taiwan US$18.3 billion worth of weaponry, which is the highest amount over the past two decades.
Taiwan has also given its cooperation to the US with regard to the Megaports Initiative and Washington's counterterrorism efforts, Ma said, adding that since the US included Taiwan in its visa-waiver program, the number of Taiwanese travelling to the US has increased substantially.
Murkowski reportedly asked Ma about the condition of former President Chen Shui-bian.
Ma explained that Chen is not a political prisoner, and that the ex-president was imprisoned after being convicted of his crimes through due process.
The former president is being treated medically in accordance with regulations, the president added.
In addition to asking about Chen, Murkowski also brought up the subject of regional stability in East Asia, according to local reports.
Besides meeting the president, the senator also met with opposition leader Su Tseng-chang, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, as well as Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials.
Murkowski is scheduled to leave Taiwan today.