President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) appealed to several US officials to support Taiwan’s bid to join a key free-trade group and to help ensure the nation’s security during her stopover in the US on her first overseas visit since taking office.
In a telephone conversation on Friday with US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — the highest-level US official Tsai spoke with during her one-day stopover in Los Angeles — Tsai said she hoped Ryan would support Taiwan’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a Presidential Office senior official said.
Tsai thanked Ryan for following Taiwan-US relations and security issues across the Taiwan Strait, and for his long-term support for US arms sales to Taiwan, Presidential Office Deputy Secretary-General Tseng Hou-jen (曾厚仁) said.
Tsai told Ryan that Taiwan’s unique international status makes it difficult for the nation to sign free-trade agreements with any single country, adding that signing multilateral trade agreements would resolve the problem, Tseng said.
Tsai also spoke with former US president Bill Clinton on the telephone on Friday.
During their 20-minute conversation, Clinton congratulated Tsai on her presidency.
Tsai also congratulated US presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton, the wife of the former president, on her campaign success so far and wished her a smooth run up to the November US presidential election, Tseng said.
Tsai also thanked Clinton for assisting Taiwan in joining the WTO when he was in office from 1993 to 2001, Tseng said.
Bill Clinton has visited Taiwan six times — four times when he was governor of Arkansas and twice after he stepped down as US president, Tseng said.
Tsai also held a breakfast meeting on Friday with members of the US Congress — Brad Sherman, Mike Honda, Mimi Walters, Scott Peters and California State Treasurer John Chiang, as well as American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt, Tseng said.
Tsai on Thursday night hosted a banquet attended by US representatives Ed Royce, Xavier Becerra and Ted Lieu, Judy Chu and Norma Torres, Tseng said, adding that she thanked them for being loyal friends to Taiwan and for their many years of support.
With their support, a US House of Representatives committee passed a measure two months ago to reaffirm the Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances” — the guidelines used to conduct relations between the US and Taiwan, Tsai said.
The act mandates the US sell arms to Taiwan to help it defend itself.
Measures like these ensure Taiwan’s security, the president said, adding that she hopes the members would continue to speak up for Taiwan in Congress.
Tsai also thanked the US government for making her transits in Miami and Los Angeles smooth, safe, comfortable, convenient and dignified.
She said that Taiwan-US relations are the “most important friendship” for Taiwan in the 21st century.
The Congressional Taiwan Caucus is the largest country-related caucus in the House of Representatives, representing support for Taiwan in the US Congress, Tsai said.
Tsai returned to Taiwan yesterday afternoon.
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