US House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce has promised Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) that he will support Taiwan’s efforts to be included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade agreement.
During her ongoing five-day visit to Washington, Tsai has said that TPP membership is vital for the nation’s economy.
Following a closed-door meeting with Tsai on Thursday, Royce said that one of the most important ways the US Congress could help Taiwan was to back its vibrant democracy and that Taiwan needed to be included in TPP.
“Also, I reiterated my commitment to press the administration to come to a decision on helping Taiwan acquire diesel submarines,” he said.
Later, Tsai met with the US-Taiwan Business Council, with former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, and attended a rally and banquet organized by a group of leading Taiwanese Americans.
At an event on Wednesday, former assistant secretary of state Kurt Campbell asked Tsai how she would help unify Taiwan’s “deeply divided society.”
She said that if elected to the presidency next year, she would run an open and transparent government and would increase the quality and quantity of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Tsai said the NGOs would facilitate dialogue between the government and the public.
“After the Sunflower movement, there has been a rise of third forces in Taiwan and I think this is a good development in the sense that public awareness has been increased and people want to participate in the decisionmaking process,” she said.
Tsai said the environment in Taiwan was very different from when she last ran for the presidency and that her campaign had developed better communications so that “our intentions will not be distorted or misunderstood.”
Tsai said that while some people have reservations about electing a woman president, the younger generation has been generally excited about the idea.
“They think it is rather trendy,” she said.
Tsai said that the business culture in Taiwan has to change so that business leaders become less afraid of failure.
“We will need to change the legal infrastructure to suit the needs of an innovation-based economy,” she said.
Campbell asked Tsai for her views on Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
“I have to answer this question very carefully,” Tsai said.
“I like the idea of his anti-corruption campaign. I admire his courage. To many observers, he seems to be rather rough and not that prepared to exercise flexibility,” she said.
“I hope he has a better understanding of the situation in Taiwan and also an understanding of Taiwan as a democracy,” she said.