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U.S. politicians talk with Ma, show support for Taiwan's TPP bid
Central News Agency
2014-07-05 10:40 PM
Taipei, July 5 (CNA) Several U.S. politicians showed support for Taiwan's bid to join in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) regional trade bloc in phone conversations with Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou as he transited in San Francisco Thursday. Sources close to the president said that U.S. lawmakers and retired military personnel told Ma they would welcome Taiwan's further involvement in the world economy during his transit stop on the way home from a state visit to Panama and El Salvador.

According to the sources, U.S. Senator John McCain said that now is an appropriate time to lend Taiwan a helping hand both in joining the TPP and a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) with United States which Taiwan has been anticipating for some time. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she will fully support a Taiwan-U.S. BIA, while House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and Republican Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart also said they are behind Taiwan on the TPP issue, sources said. Meanwhile, retired Admiral Robert Willard reportedly said he is impressed with Ma's East China Sea Peace Initiative -- a proposal for countries with claims over the contested Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea to establish a mechanism for cooperation and joint exploration.

He was quoted as saying said the U.S. could use a similar approach in handling global crises like the one in Ukraine. Retired Admiral and former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said he will suggest Washington remain committed to helping Taiwan defend itself by continuing to provide defensive weapons, the sources said.

At an event in the northern California city, Ma was also visited by U.S. Congressman Mike Honda, who said he wants further cooperation with Taiwan on the issue of comfort women -- the women across Asia forced into sexual slavery by Japanese imperial forces -- in a personal capacity. Showing a news clip of "Grandma Xiaotao," a former Taiwanese comfort women recently visited by Ma, Honda said the comfort women controversy is a long-standing issue that needs to be faced. (By Kelvin Huang and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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