Taiwan presidential candidate meets heavyweight senators in Washington

Taiwan presidential candidate meets heavyweight senators in Washington
Taiwan's main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen gives a speech during a news conference in Taipei April 15, 2015.

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Presidential candidate and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen met with US Senators John McCain and Dan Sullivan from the Republican Party and Democrat Jack Reed on June 2 in Washington, D.C. to discuss issues such as Taiwan's candidacy in joining regional economic organisations, military co-operation and future US-Taiwan relations.

As the DPP presidential candidate continues to highlight the Washington leg of her US tour this week, Beijing's Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai expressed his confusion regarding Tsai's tour.

"If Tsai has words to share with China, why should she look to conduct interviews with the US instead?" Cui asked during a media interview after the welcoming ceremony of newly appointed minister Li Kexin.

"She needs to pass China's 1.3 billion population's exams - whether she can accept the 'one-China' principle - rather than bluffing her way with vague statements," the ambassador said.

Prior to Cui's remarks, Tsai had already reiterated that her tour across the US was "not an interview," and that she had made her cross-strait stance clear: maintaining peace across the strait and stable development for both sides.

China Affairs Committee (CAC) Director Chao Tien-lin also backed up Tsai's statement yesterday before attending the DPP's Central Standing Committee Meeting.

Chao further expressed his surprise regarding Cui's belief that Tsai should "take exams of China's 1.3 billion people," saying it was uncouth and unhelpful for advancing "mutual understanding and communication" on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Military Cooperation Highlight of Talks with Senators

According to Tsai, she pointed out during the meeting that diverse trade is an important component to update Taiwan's economy, citing strengthening trade relations with the US and joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as imperative milestones for Taiwan.

In hopes of advancing talks on military co-operation, Tsai joined with Senator McCain, incumbent chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, to discuss possible measures.

Tsai expressed her gratitude toward McCain's long-term support of Taiwan's military affairs. Tsai said she looks forward to "furthering military exchanges, sharing of information, and advancing the military industry" with the US

McCain, in response to the talks with Tsai, will attempt to push for more opportunities for Taiwan to partake in "multilateral military exercises." He will also support improving Taiwan's imbalanced military competency and exchange of military officials

Sullivan also expressed his affirmative stance toward Taiwan's democratic values, referring to Tsai's commentary that was published in the Wall Street Journal on June 1.

Accompanying Tsai to the US Senate to meet with the senators were DPP representative to the US Joseph Wu, Director of International Affairs James Huang and DPP lawmaker Hsiao Bi-khim.

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