The nation’s democracy and resulting development are an example for the Indo-Pacific region, a visiting US Department of State official said yesterday as he reiterated Washington’s commitment to supporting Taiwan’s international participation and helping it defend its democracy.
Alex Wong (黃之瀚), deputy assistant secretary at the department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, made the remarks in a speech at the 50th annual Hsieh Nien Fan (謝年飯) banquet hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taipei.
It was the only public appearance Wong is expected to make during his three-day visit, the first by a US official since Washington on Friday last week enacted the Taiwan Travel Act, which encourages high-level visits by Taiwanese and US officials.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
However, the American Institute in Taiwan has denied a link between Wong’s visit and the new legislation, a stance echoed last night by AmCham Taipei chairman Albert Chang (章錦華), who said that they were classmates at Harvard Law School and that he agreed to visit months ago.
“Tonight should be about looking forward. Yes, we have done much to deepen US-Taiwan relations, but my message tonight is this: Let’s do more,” Wong said.
Taiwan’s constitutional democracy is an example for the entire Indo-Pacific region, because dynamic, broad-based and sustainable economic growth can only arise in the stable and certain conditions created under a constitutional government, Wong said.
“For that example to have the most force, for that example to do the most good, Taiwan can no longer be excluded unjustly from international fora,” Wong said.
Denying Taiwan the chance to share its experiences in public health, humanitarian relief and sustainable development would be unjust for anyone who could benefit from them, Wong said, pledging continued joint efforts between the US government and private sector to ensure that “Taiwan’s stellar international example shines brightly.”
Wong also lauded Taiwan’s efforts to forge close economic ties with nations throughout the Indo-Pacific region via the New Southbound Policy, which he said is vital to consolidating the free and open rules-based order in the region.
“The final thing I am certain of is the US’ support for Taiwan,” Wong said, adding that Washington would continue to bolster Taiwan’s ability to defend its democracy and ensure that its people can travel on their chosen path free from coercion.
In her opening remarks, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had a light-hearted exchange with Wong, when she jokingly said she was “allergic” to Harvard Law School because she was not admitted.
Tsai then expressed her gratitude to US President Donald Trump’s administration and the US Congress for supporting the act.
“We also welcome deputy assistant secretary Wong as the latest to be here following visits by senior US officials at the state department, department of commerce, small business administrations and more,” she said.
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense recommended that consumers avoid buying Chinese mobile phones and advised people to throw away the ones they have now after a government report found the devices had built-in censorship capabilities. Flagship phones sold in Europe by China’s smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp (小米) have a built-in ability to detect and censor terms such as “Free Tibet,” “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement,” Lithuania’s state-run cybersecurity body said on Tuesday. The capability in Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G phone software had been turned off for the “European Union region,” but can be turned on remotely at any time,
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the
CLOSE COOPERATION: A House of Representatives bill suggests inviting Taiwan’s navy to participate in the world’s largest international maritime military exercises The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed its annual defense policy bill, which includes provisions recommending that Taiwan be included in next year’s Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) and enhanced cooperation between Taiwan and the US National Guard. The House approved the US$777.9 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 in a 316-113 vote. The 1,390-page bill includes three major provisions related to Taiwan under sections 1243, 1247 and 1248. Section 1248 recommends that the US invite Taiwan’s navy to participate in next year’s RIMPAC. Taiwan has never been invited to participate in the event, which is the world’s largest