Hopefully, the US would recognize Taiwan and establish formal diplomatic ties with the nation, Legislative Speaker Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) said yesterday at a meeting with American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen.
Yu met with Christensen at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
They each spoke publicly before and after the closed-door meeting.
Since US President Donald Trump took office in 2017, Taiwan-US relations have improved significantly, Yu said.
Aside from criticizing China, US Vice President Mike Pence in a speech at the Hudson Institute in 2018 said that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all Chinese, Yu said.
The frequent passage of US forces through the Taiwan Strait shows how much importance Washington places on security in the area and all of East Asia, he said.
Thanking the US for the support it has lent Taiwan to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Yu called on the US to support the nation’s participation at the WHO and to sign a bilateral free-trade agreement.
The nation has long been bullied by China, making it difficult for it to secure trade deals, but if Washington takes the lead, Tokyo and Brussels could follow suit, further opening up Taiwan’s international space, he said.
Many US citizens, including some officials in the Trump administration, are friendly toward Taiwan, Yu said, adding that it is his sincere hope that the US would formally recognize Taiwan and forge official bilateral ties.
After the meeting, Yu said he told Christensen that several US representatives have advocated formally recognizing Taiwan and asked him what his thoughts on the issue were.
However, Christensen did not give a response, he said.
Yu said that he expressed to Christensen his hope to push for trade deal with the US.
Asked whether Christensen talked about the issues of allowing imports of US pork and relaxing import restrictions on US beef, Yu said Christensen observed that “related issues” would be factors in signing a trade agreement.
However, Christensen did not offer advice on what actions Taipei should take, he said.
The issue would need to be negotiated by the two nations and would depend heavily on the nation’s government agencies, as local industries should be protected as international trade broadens, Yu said.
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