Taipei [Taiwan], July 11 (ANI): Describing US official, Raymond Greene as an "old friend of Taiwan, President Lai Ching Te said that the nation will cooperate with the US and like-minded countries to promote regional prosperity, Taiwan News reported.

President Lai made the remarks as he met the career diplomat during their first official meeting on Wednesday.

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In his first official meeting with Director Raymond Greene of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), President Lai Ching-te expressed his belief that relations between Taiwan and the United States would only improve in future.

The American Institute in Taiwan is a de facto embassy of the United States of America in Taiwan.

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July 9, marked the professional diplomat's official start of office as Sandra Oudkirk concluded her three-year term.

Given that Greene had previously spent two terms at AIT, the president referred to him as an old friend of Taiwan.

During his visit to the Presidential Office, Greene stated that the United States would continue to assist Taiwan's attempts to protect itself because cross-strait peace and stability were essential to the Indo-Pacific area and the rest of the globe, reported Taiwan News.

Lai declared that Taiwan would make every effort to thwart China's attempts to alter the status quo of the self-governed island, Taiwan News reported citing Radio Taiwan International (RTI).

Greene recalled that Lai, a lawmaker at the time, had received an invitation to participate in the US State Department's International Visitor Leadership Programme when he first started working at AIT twenty years earlier.

Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, has long been a contentious issue in China's foreign policy, with Beijing considering the island as a renegade province that must be reunified with the mainland, if necessary by force.

As the situation in the Taiwan Strait continues to unfold, regional stability hangs in the balance, with any escalation posing significant risks not only to Taiwan and China but also to the broader Asia-Pacific region.

Since September 2020, China has increased its use of gray zone tactics by incrementally increasing the number of military aircraft and naval ships operating around Taiwan.

Gray zone tactics are defined as "an effort or series of efforts beyond steady-state deterrence and assurance that attempts to achieve one's security objectives without resort to direct and sizable use of force."

This comes at a time when the tensions between China and Taiwan are at an all-time high. Despite never having governed Taiwan, China's governing Communist Party considers it part of its territory and has threatened to conquer it by force if necessary. (ANI)

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