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June 26, 2017

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US hopes for peaceful debate over trade pact

WASHINGTON--The United States on Monday expressed support for Taiwan's democracy and hoped the debate in Taiwan over a service trade agreement with China can be conducted in a peaceful and civil way.

While reiterating U.S. endorsement of the efforts on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to improve their relations, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf did not comment further on the dispute in Taiwan over the agreement, saying only the matter is for Taiwan to decide.

Harf made the comments when answering a reporter's question on on-going demonstrations in Taiwan at a daily press briefing.

"We certainly support Taiwan's vibrant democracy, which allows for this kind of robust political dialogue on a range of issues," she said.

"The agreement on cross-strait trade in services ... is an issue for Taiwan to decide," she said. "We hope that the discussion can be conducted peacefully and civilly."

Harf went on to say that the United States has welcomed steps taken by both sides on the Taiwan Strait that they've taken to reduce tensions and improve relations between Taipei and Beijing.

"We'd encourage them to continue this constructive dialogue," she added.

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