Taiwan-US relations are “incredibly important” in diplomatic, military and economic areas, as well as regarding efforts by the two sides to defend human rights and freedom, US Senator Ted Cruz said in Taipei yesterday.
One of the most outspoken supporters of Taiwan, Cruz is the first US senator to attend Double Ten National Day celebrations in 35 years, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said as he welcomed Cruz at a news conference at the Shangri-La Hotel.
This is a time when the world’s attention is focused on Hong Kong, where people demonstrate their courage as they stand up for democracy and freedom, said Cruz, a member of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
People in Taiwan and Hong Kong are important, as “the Chinese government is terrified by the idea of freedom,” he said, adding that Beijing also hopes the world will forget the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989.
Since 2016, a number of nations severed ties with Taiwan, including Kiribati, the Solomon Islands and El Salvador, which was caused by China’s economic coercion or “blackmail” in some cases, he said.
Members of the committee last month unanimously passed a draft Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act, which discourages countries from ending diplomatic relations with Taiwan and underscores that the US is standing with Taiwanese, he said.
“We also will stand up against Chinese efforts to undermine Taiwan,” Cruz said. “This is a friendship that is incredibly important. This is a military relationship that is incredibly important. This is an economic relationship that is incredibly important.”
He also expressed support for Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who earlier this week said on Twitter: “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.”
“I don’t think the NBA and American companies should participate in Chinese censorship.” he said. “We have an obligation to speak the truth ... and it is an obligation that Taiwan takes very seriously.”
Asked whether he supports President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) re-election next year, Cruz said it is a question for Taiwanese to decide through the nation’s democratic procedures.
His visit is part of a broader tour of friends and allies in the Indo-Pacific region, Cruz said, adding that he on Tuesday met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss diplomatic, military and trade issues.
Cruz and three of his aides arrived in Taiwan yesterday and met with high-ranking officials in Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
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