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Ma, foreign minister laud Frankfurt transit stop

TAIPEI--President Ma Ying-jeou and Foreign Minister David Lin praised yesterday a refueling stop that saw Ma land in Germany on his way to visit allies in Africa and Central America — the first time that a “major” European country has granted permission for such a stop to a president of Taiwan.

“We have never made a transit stop before” in Germany, Ma said at a meeting of the ruling Kuomintang's Central Standing Committee. The president is also the chairman of his party.

He said that the refuel stop in Germany, during which he met with unnamed “German friends,” and his plane's flight path through Russian airspace prove that Taiwan has many international friends, attributing the two country's friendly gestures to his “zero surprises” foreign policy and “low-key” approach.

Ma headed out from Taiwan Jan. 23 to visit African allies Sao Tomeand Principe and Burkina Faso before heading to Honduras to attend the inauguration of the Central American country's new president, Juan Orlando Hernandez. Ma transited in Los Angeles, California, before returning to Taiwan Jan. 30.

Lin, who gave a report on the results of the trip at the committee meeting, said the stop in Germany would be a basis for strengthening Taiwan-Germany ties in the future.

The stop in Frankfurt is particularly meaningful for Taiwan, as it was a result of a low-key interactions between the two countries, he added.

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