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US EPA gives Taiwan rain check during Asia tour

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy will visit Taiwan sometime in the future, the U.S. State Department said Thursday.

“McCarthy will not visit Taiwan on this trip,” a State Department spokesperson said, referring to McCarthy's current trip that has taken her to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

“She plans to visit Taiwan at a time mutually convenient to the United States and our Taiwan partners in environmental protection,” the spokesperson said.

The State Department denied media reports that the EPA head's planned visit to Taiwan had been suddenly canceled. “No, the Administrator needed to return to Washington,” the spokesperson said.

McCarthy's potential visit has been widely covered in the Taiwanese media this past week.

Several media outlets reported Wednesday morning that McCarthy would come to Taiwan Friday, but the United Evening News followed up later in the same day with a report saying the visit had been canceled.

According to the newspaper, citing an unnamed source, visiting AIT Chairman Raymond F. Burghardt admitted during a dinner with Taiwanese lawmakers on Wednesday that a planned visit by McCarthy this week had been canceled due to the Taiwanese media reports on the trip.

Regardless of the snafu, the U.S. State Department spokesperson said Thursday that Taiwan and U.S. EPA have long standing programs on environmental cooperation that have benefited the region and “will continue.”

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