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May 30, 2017

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Relief goods continue pouring in from abroad

With normalization of relations between Washington and Beijing, the United States withdrew its military assistance advisory group and deactivated its Taiwan Defense Command. The mutual defense treaty between Taiwan and the United States was terminated at the end of the year.

The unloading took only four minutes, and the C-130, which touched down at 2:45 p.m. took off for Okinawa after a stay of half an hour.

At least one of the two U.S. CH-53 choppers will arrive in Taiwan today, said the MND official. "It will arrive to assist in relief work," he added.

The helicopter will be carried aboard an amphibious transport dock ship, known as a landing platform dock, to waters off southern Taiwan, the official said. It will then fly to Tainan Air Force Base.

Asked when the helicopter will arrive, American Institute in Taiwan press officer Christopher Kavanagh said "the mission is in progress." Details have yet to be confirmed, he added.

The arrival of U.S. military helicopters, though on a humanitarian mission, may rattle some nerves at the time when Beijing announced the People's Republic of China is ready to provide even larger choppers.

Officials in Taipei kept mum on the Chinese offer of the service of Russian-made heavy-lift helicopters, currently the world's biggest, which Chinese rescuers used during the great earthquake of Sizhuan last year.

When Washington and Beijing normalized relations, Deng Xiaoping made "the interference by a foreign country" in Taiwan one of the conditions for the People's Liberation Army to attack the island. Another condition was when Taiwan built atomic combs.

Altogether 60 countries, the European Union and at least 19 international and non-governmental organizations have contributed money to Taiwan's relief efforts.

The Americans are also sending Agency for International Development representatives to Taiwan to assess what extra aid is needed. "We have been looking at what materials are available and what kind of services we may render to meet Taiwan's needs," Kavanagh told the Central News Agency.

Singapore was the first country that sent relief goods to Taiwan from abroad on Thursday.

The tropical rainstorm left in its wake at least 124 people killed and 56 others missing. The death toll does not include more than 300 people believed to have been buried alive in remote mountain villages.

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