Tue, Jun 12, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Harper says new AIT complex ‘a commitment’

By Lu Yi-hsuan and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA

US Representative Gregg Harper speaks at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

The US government’s US$255 million investment in the new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) compound is a symbol of its commitment to Taiwan, US Representative Gregg Harper, who co-chairs the US Congressional Taiwan Caucus, said yesterday.

“The opening tomorrow of the new AIT headquarters shows how important our relationship is to the US,” the Republican lawmaker from Mississippi said.

Harper and his wife, Sidney, arrived on Sunday to attend today’s dedication ceremony of the new office complex in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖). This is Harper’s third visit to Taiwan.

Commenting on US-Taiwan relations, Harper said that as the caucus co-chair, he would assure people in Taiwan that “in Washington DC, our commitment is as strong or stronger than ever, and will continue that way in the future.”

While Republicans and Democrats in the US Congress do not always get along, “we recently passed the Taiwan Travel Act unanimously... That does not happen very often,” he said.

The act, which encourages visits between US and Taiwanese officials “at all levels,” was signed into law on March 16.

As free and democratic societies, the US and Taiwan share the same values, and this would allow them to maintain close relations, Harper said.

China’s pressuring of international companies into changing their references to Taiwan was an unfortunate development, and he has encouraged such companies to not give in to pressure, he said.

AIT Chairman James Moriarty, who arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, yesterday said the new AIT complex is “an important symbol” of US commitment to Taiwan.

It is Moriarty’s fourth visit since his appointment as AIT chairman in October 2016, the AIT said in a statement.

He also worked at the AIT in Taipei from 1995 to 1998.

Moriarty is scheduled to meet with several senior political and business figures, including some from Kaohsiung and Tainan, before leaving on Saturday, the AIT said.

The US delegation to today’s ceremony also includes US Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce, who is making her first trip to Taiwan in that capacity, although she has visited before with her husband, US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Marie Royce are expected to speak at today’s event, the AIT said.

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