US Secretary of State John Kerry met with former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) at the APEC forum in Bali, Indonesia, yesterday to discuss what steps both sides are taking to advance Taiwan-US ties.
Siew is attending the APEC summit on behalf of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
During the meeting, Kerry highlighted the close economic and trade relationship between Americans and Taiwanese, according to a press release issued by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).
Kerry also praised the progress made in talks held under the auspices of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement between the AIT and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Organization in the US, while stressing the importance of trade liberalization for Taiwan’s economic future.
The US secretary of state welcomed the increase in the number of Taiwanese visiting the US following Taiwan’s inclusion in the US’ Visa-Waiver Program on Nov. 1 last year, saying that the rise in arrivals is strengthening cultural relations on an interpersonal level, as well as supporting jobs in the travel and tourism sectors.
He then expressed Washington’s support for Taipei’s bid to attain “meaningful participation in international organizations,” including the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Taiwan’s leadership in small and medium enterprises, women’s empowerment and bridging the digital divide were very welcome contributions to APEC, Kerry told Siew.
He thanked Taiwan for co-sponsoring a new mechanism to remove supply chain chokepoints and enhance regional connectivity alongside the US.
Kerry said he was looking forward to welcoming a delegation of Taiwanese business leaders and investors led by Siew to the US. The visit is scheduled for next month.