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Ma to meet US lawmakers during New York stopover

WASHINGTON -- Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives said Thursday that they will call on Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou during a transit stop in New York on his way to Paraguay in mid August.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce and the committee's ranking member Eliot Engel told reporters that they planned to go to New York for the meeting.

Commenting on Ma's visit, Royce said the Taiwan Policy Act of 2013, which passed his committee earlier in the day, touches on the issue.

Among other things, the legislation says it should be U.S. policy that “permits senior leaders of Taiwan to enter the United States under conditions which demonstrate appropriate courtesy and respect for the dignity of such leaders.”

The act “expresses support for Taiwan and strengthens the U.S.-Taiwan relationship politically, economically and through security assistance,” according to a press release on the committee website.

Royce, a Republican from California who led a bipartisan delegation to Taiwan earlier this year, said he hopes to visit again next year to discuss a wide range of issues related to trade and investments between the two countries.

The Congress hopes for a closer economic ties between Taiwan and the U.S.to develop a mutually beneficial relationship, he said.

Calling himself a long-time friend of Taiwan, Engel, a New York Democrat, said he hopes to continue to improve bilateral relations. He has made several visits to Taiwan, which he said has similar democratic values to the United States.

Ma is scheduled to visit Paraguay and four diplomatic allies in the Caribbean Aug. 11-22, during which time he will attend the inauguration of Paraguay's President Horacio Cartes, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ma will make a transit stop in Los Angeles on his way back to Taiwan.

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