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Taiwan's top envoy in Japan hosts U.S. counterpart at residence

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Tokyo/Taipei, May 25 (CNA) The United States' top diplomat in Japan on Monday visited the official residence of his Taiwanese counterpart, the first time since formal ties between the U.S. and Taiwan were severed in 1979.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Frank Hsieh, head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Japan, said he hosted Joseph Young, chargé d'affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, and Japanese friends for a dinner at his official residence.

"We exchanged views on issues relating to regional peace and prosperity. This was a first, a new beginning that carried important implications for our tripartite cooperation," wrote Hsieh.

Meanwhile, Young also shared his thoughts about the meeting earlier in the day on his Twitter account.

"Always good to see @Taiwan_in_Japan's Frank Hsieh. We had another productive conversation about our shared regional priorities," said the tweet, which came with a photo that shows him exchanging a souvenir picture with Hsieh.

This was the second time the diplomats have met for a working dinner.

On March 2, Young invited Hsieh for dinner at the U.S. Ambassador's Residence in Japan, the first visit by a Taiwanese diplomat since 1979.

The U.S. Department of State put in place internal restrictions on interactions by U.S. diplomats with their Taiwanese counterparts after Washington shifted its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

However, such restrictions were lifted in January by then-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said those "self-imposed restrictions" were introduced decades ago to appease Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory.

Since then, both countries' diplomats have openly met either at the U.S. embassy, Taiwan's representative office or their official residences, and posted those meetings on social media.

In a press statement, Taiwan's foreign ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said the ministry was glad to see the close interactions between the U.S. Embassy and TECO in Japan as Taiwan and the U.S. are close partners.

She added that Taiwan hopes to deepen cooperation with all like-minded countries.

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