Taipei, The Ministry of National Defense on Saturday tried to play down claims made by local media that it will be actively proposing port calls between the U.S. and Taiwan navies in the near future.
In a front page story on Saturday, the Chinese-language daily Liberty Times cited a high-ranking military official as saying the government has changed its attitude from "optimistically expectant of" to "actively seeking" exchanges of port calls with the U.S. Navy.
Such port calls, which have not taken place since Washington severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979, emerged as a possibility after U.S. President Donald Trump signed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in December of 2017.
The act contains clauses that would allow the U.S. to look into re-establishing "regular ports of call by the U.S. Navy at Kaohsiung or any other suitable ports in Taiwan" and permit the U.S. Pacific Command to receive ports of call by Taiwanese vessels.
In a statement Saturday, the MND said it has not broached the subject with the U.S. recently but will discuss any and all collaborative military measures with the U.S. that will benefit Taiwan's security when the time is right.
Soon after Trump signed the NDAA, then Foreign Minister David Lee (???) said Taiwan would respect the U.S. government's decision on whether or not to put the act's provisions on port calls into practice.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry also put out a statement around the same time in December, opposing the act's Taiwan-related clause.
Since then, China has repeatedly spoken out against any military relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan, saying that it would damage the bilateral and military ties shared by the U.S. and China.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel