TAIWAN PREXY WILLING TO TALK WITH CHINESE LEADERS
President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan expressed willingness to hold "meaningful dialogue" with the leadership of Beijing to have peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, Emerson Lim reported for Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA).
"At this stage, the most pressing cross-strait issue is to discuss how we can live in peace and coexist based on mutual respect, goodwill and understanding," Tsai said during her address. “As long as the Beijing authorities are willing to resolve antagonisms and improve cross-strait relations, while parity and dignity are maintained, we are willing to work together to facilitate meaningful dialogue," she added.
Tsai's statement came at a time when the already sour cross-strait relations further deteriorated over recent months with Taiwan and the United States showing closer engagements, such as high-level visits by US officials and more arms sales to Taiwan. US Health Secretary Alex Azar and Under Secretary of State Keith Krach visited Taiwan in August and in September, trips that Beijing frowned on as it considers Taiwan as part of its territory and opposes official contact that implies a promotion of Taiwan's status as an independent nation.
Earlier in July, the U.S. approved a request by Taiwan for the recertification of its Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) air defense missiles, after giving the nod to sell 66 F-16V fighter jets and 108 M1A2T tanks to Taiwan last year. Last month, the Reuters news agency reported that the US was planning to sell seven major weapons systems to Taiwan, although Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) dismissed it as "speculation."