Fri, Jun 07, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Tsai unveils US affairs office nameplate

IN ATTENDANCE:AIT Director Brent Christensen said that the partnership between the two countries has always thrived, ‘regardless of which political party is in power’

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

President Tsai Ing-wen, left, yesterday shakes hands with American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen at ceremony in Taipei to unveil the nameplate of the renamed Taiwan Council for US Affairs.

Photo: CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday officially unveiled the nameplate of the retitled Taiwan Council for US Affairs (TCUSA) and reiterated Taiwan’s commitment to boosting its self-defense capabilities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 25 announced the renaming of the council, which was originally named the Coordination Council for North American Affairs. It was established in 1979 alongside the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which was founded under the framework of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act.

The council’s original name stemmed from the difficult diplomatic situations Taiwan faced at the time, Tsai said at an unveiling ceremony in Taipei yesterday.

The Taiwan-US partnership has become closer than it was four decades ago, and Taiwan’s pledge to help maintain peace, safety and stability in the Indo-Pacific region remains unchanged, however fast-changing the world is, she said.

“The Taiwan Relations Act, passed [on] April 10, 1979, ensured that while the US-Taiwan relationship would be unofficial, it would not be unimportant,” AIT Director Brent Christensen said in Mandarin.

The council’s new name better reflects the organization’s day-to-day work, he said, adding that the AIT looks forward to deepening the bilateral friendship.

Christensen, who on Tuesday stressed the US’ stance of noninterference in Taiwan’s elections next year, said that the US-Taiwan partnership has continued to thrive, “regardless of which political party is in power in Washington or Taipei.”

Asked about a Reuters report yesterday that the US is preparing a US$2 billion arms package sale to Taiwan, Tsai said that the government would communicate with the public after more definitive information is available.

“We will continue reinforcing our self-defense capabilities and contributing to maintaining regional peace,” Tsai said.

Since US President Donald Trump took office in 2017, the US has demonstrated its firm support of Taiwan’s security through three arms package sales, the ministry said in a statement.

Separately yesterday, former AIT chairman Richard Bush said in a radio interview in Taipei that it is Beijing — not Tsai — that is unilaterally changing the cross-strait “status quo.”

“Although the cross-strait relation is more intense, it is not dangerous. A key variable for Beijing will be who holds power in Taipei, and [Taiwan’s] Jan. 11 elections actually will determine that,” Bush said. “Beijing can’t afford to be patient.”

However, it is not necessary to interpret a meeting last month between National Security Council Secretary-General David Lee (李大維) and White House National Security Adviser John Bolton as the US lending support to Tsai in her bid for re-election, he said.

Rather, it reflects the US’ interest in peace and stability, he said.

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