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Taiwan, U.S. should maintain close communication: Presidential Office
Taipei, April 28 (CNA) Taipei and Washington should maintain close communication and not rule out any possible form of bilateral communication, Taiwan's Presidential Office spokesman said Friday, in response to a report that U.S. President Donald Trump has spurned President Tsai Ing-wen's suggestion of another phone call.
On the issue of another phone call with the U.S. president, Alex Huang said that Taiwan understands the priorities of the U.S. government with regard to regional affairs, noting the good mutual trust between the two countries. "We also don't have any such plan for the time being," he said in a statement.
Huang's remarks came after Tsai said in an exclusive interview with Reuters on Thursday in Taipei that her administration will not exclude the opportunity for another phone call with Trump.
In response to questions on whether she will conduct further communication with Trump, Tsai said that her administration is looking forward to more direct communication with the U.S. government on significant issues, according to the full text of the interview released by the Presidential Office.
"We will not rule out the possibility of (another) phone call with President Trump, but it depends on the situation and the U.S. government's approach to regional affairs," Tsai said.
Tsai made a congratulatory phone call to then-President-elect Donald Trump in early December, a move that angered Beijing, which sees Taiwan as part of China. The Tsai-Trump call was the first interaction of its kind since the U.S. switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in January 1979.
Citing Tsai's remarks, Huang said that it was "the president's passive response to Reuters' hypothetical questions."
The president's main point was to "stress that Taiwan and the U.S. should maintain close communication and not rule out any possible form (of communication)," Huang said.
Reuters quoted Tsai as saying that a direct phone call with Trump could take place again, but the issue still depends on the needs of the situation and the U.S. government's consideration of regional affairs.
However, Reuters published another report Friday that Trump spurned Tsai's suggestion of another phone call, saying that he did not want to create problems for Chinese President Xi Jinping at a time when China seems to be helping with the North Korea issue.
In an exclusive interview with Reuters at the White House, Trump rejected the idea after Tsai said she would not rule out talking directly again to the U.S. president, an act certain to anger China, according to the report filed from Washington.
"Look, my problem is I have established a very good personal relationship with President Xi. I really feel that he is doing everything in his power to help us with a big situation," Trump was quoted by Reuters as saying, referring to signs that Beijing may be working to head off any new missile or nuclear test by Pyongyang.
"So I wouldn't want to be causing difficulty right now for him," Trump was quoted as saying in the report.
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