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Taiwan

US is natural ally of Taiwan, island’s envoy says in Washington

Two nations share same interests in human rights and democracy, Stanley Kao says in remarks at Lunar New Year parade in the American capital

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 January, 2017, 10:39pm
UPDATED : Monday, 30 January, 2017, 10:39pm

Taiwan’s representative to the United States has called Washington the “natural partner and ally” of Taipei.

In remarks delivered at the Lunar New Year parade in Washington on Sunday, Stanley Kao, said ties between Taipei and Washington would improve, Central News Agency reported.

Kao said the relationship was based on shared values, including human rights, democracy, and freedom of the press, religion and assembly. The two sides also shared interests in trade, culture, education, tourism, sport and technology, Kao said.

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The direction of ties between Taiwan and the US has been thrown into uncertainty following the election of Donald Trump as US president. He accepted a telephone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen after his victory, breaking decades of protocol. Trump has also questioned the validity of the one-China ­policy.

Beijing suspended official communication with Taiwan after the independence-leaning Tsai came to power. Taipei officials also say the mainland is squeezing the flow of tourists to pressure the leadership.

According to the Taiwanese Tourism Bureau, the number of mainland tourists heading across the Taiwan Strait fell by 16 per cent last year compared to 2015, a drop of 670,000 visitors.

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Taiwan’s Presidential Office has received fewer tourists from the mainland since it reopened in September after extensive renovations. Mainland tourists made up just 20.3 per cent of the people visiting the office’s permanent exhibition after the new government took office in May, down from 51.9 per cent previously, according to the office.