Tsai thanks Washington for arms sales

‘READY AND WILLING’::The solid security partnership between Taiwan and the US is vital to regional peace and stability, President Tsai Ing-wen told a US delegation

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

Mon, Apr 29, 2019 - Page 1

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday expressed gratitude to the US government for continuing to sell arms to Taiwan and helping the nation bolster its self-defense capabilities.

In a meeting with a delegation led by US senators Chris Coons and Maggie Hassan, Tsai said that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).

Citing US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Tsai said that for four decades the TRA has bolstered the relationship between Taiwan and the US, which is based on their shared values of democracy, freedom, security and human rights.

Tsai also expressed gratitude for the US Congress’ bipartisan support for improving relations between the two nations.

Coons, along with senators from the Democratic and Republican parties, introduced the US’ Taiwan Assurance Act, which backs Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, calls for opening dialogue on a Taiwan-US free-trade agreement and emphasizes that Taiwan is a vital part of the US’ free and open Indo-Pacific strategy, Tsai said.

The act also directs the US secretary of defense to work to include Taiwan in bilateral and multilateral military training exercises, Tsai added, thanking Coon for his efforts.

The solid security partnership between Taiwan and the US is vital to regional peace and stability and is in the best interests of the Indo-Pacific region, she said.

Taiwan and the US can bolster their partnership based on the existing foundation and work together to become a force for good in the region and in the world, Tsai said.

“Taiwan is already ready, willing and able to contribute more to the international community,” she added.

Coons and Hassan arrived in Taiwan on Saturday on the final leg of a trip to East Asia that included stops in Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and Hangzhou, China.

At a later news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei, the senators said the purpose of their trip is to reiterate that the US and Taiwan’s long-standing partnership is based on the US’ “one China” policy and the Taiwan Relations Act.

The trip is not meant to create political news, change the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait or encourage Taiwanese independence or other political views, said Coons, who is a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.

The purpose of the trip is to reiterate the importance of US-Taiwan relations and to visit the American Institute in Taiwan’s new complex, he said.

In response to media queries on what advice he would give former US vice president and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden with regards to Taiwan, Coons said he would recommend that Biden spend more time visiting East Asia.

Biden previously visited Taiwan and understands the value of engaging personally, Coons added.