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September 23, 2017

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Ma's Green Card issue 'closed': US State Dept.

WASHINGTON -- The United States government confirmed Thursday that Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou lost his U.S. permanent residency a "long" time ago, lending support to Ma and his office over allegations he still holds a Green Card.

"The United States has long recognized President Ma Ying-jeou's abandonment of U.S. legal permanent residence status. That matter is closed," a U.S. State Department official said in response to reporters' question on the issue.

Allegations that Ma still holds a valid Green Card first emerged during the run-up to his 2008 presidential campaign.

The issue sparked renewed interest this week after Taipei-based Next magazine reported that Ma is obligated to pay U.S. taxes once the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act goes into effect in July because of the Green Card he received when studying and working in the United States in the 1970s and early 1980s.

On Thursday, the Presidential Office produced a letter signed by American Institute in Taiwan Managing Director Joseph R. Donovan Jr. which confirmed "President Ma Ying-jeou's abandonment of his former legal status."

The move has "long been included in appropriate U.S. immigration system records," Donovan wrote, adding that "this issue is therefore closed."

Ma to Mark Inauguration Anniversary at Taichung University

President Ma Ying-jeou has set an event at China Medical University in the central city of Taichung to mark his sixth inaugural anniversary on May 20, according to a source in the Presidential Office Friday.

The choice of a university campus represents Ma's intention to focus on issues of concern for young people during his Tuesday address, the source said.

The source noted that the choice of China Medical University as a venue is significant because the school has the potential for developing international treatment capabilities under the proposed free economic pilot zone project being pushed by Ma's government.

As in past inaugural anniversaries, the president is set to give an address and hold a press conference. He also plans to interact with the school's students.

The speech will reportedly focus on young people's concerns and solicit their opinions on current policies through a question and-answer session.

After the student-led Sunflower Movement ended its occupation of the Legislative Yuan April 10, the president has attended a series of "young citizens forums" held by his party, the Kuomintang, and has met with young entrepreneurs to hear a wide range of opinions from the country's youth, the source said.

Ma had originally planned to hold last year's inauguration anniversary at National Yunlin University of Science and Technology in southern Taiwan, but he had to cancel the event due to heavy rains in the region.

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