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Another phone call with Trump possible: Tsai

TAIPEI: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said a direct phone call with US President Donald Trump could take place again and urged China to step up to its global responsibility to keep the peace as a large nation.

"We have the opportunity to communicate more directly with the US government," Ms Tsai told Reuters in an exclusive interview yesterday.

"We don't exclude the opportunity to call Mr Trump himself, but it depends on the needs of the situation and the US government's consideration of regional affairs."

The interview was the first since Mr Trump, as US President-elect, took a congratulatory phone call from Ms Tsai in early December.

It was the first contact between leaders of the two sides in nearly four decades, and he cast doubt on Washington's long-standing policy of acknowledging Beijing's "one China" policy.

But Mr Trump agreed to honour the policy in February and then hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Florida resort earlier this month.

Despite this, Ms Tsai said Taiwan's ties with the US, its biggest political ally and arms supplier, have been improving.

She added that Taiwan may need to buy the most advanced stealth jet the US has.

"We don't rule out any items that would be meaningful to our defence... and the F-35 is one such item," said Ms Tsai, in the first remarks by a top Taiwanese official on the matter.

China's Defence Ministry said yesterday it is resolutely opposed to any country selling arms to Taiwan. - REUTERS

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