Taiwan has been lobbying Washington to allow it to host a US-organized ministerial-level forum on religious freedom, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kelly Hsieh (謝武樵) told lawmakers yesterday.
During a question-and-answer session at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) asked Hsieh if she could confirm that the US is considering organizing such an event in Asia and that Taiwan was a possible host.
The first Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom was held in Washington in July. The three-day forum brought together representatives from more than 80 nations with records for advancing religious freedom, as well as non-governmental organizations, a news release from the US Department of State said at the time.
Hsieh told Wang that Taiwan was engaged in talks with US officials on the issue and that the government would welcome the opportunity to host such a meeting.
Wang said that while Taiwan-US relations have seen positive developments, the government should seek a measurable way to reassure the public that US policy would stay on course.
“The ministry should not be complacent about being notified, your people should get on the case,” he said. “For example, Taiwan should try to send a delegation to the [White House] prayer breakfast.”
No time or place has been fixed for the proposed religious freedom summit in Asia and the US government is still discussing the matter with other nations, Hsieh said.
The government’s position, which has been conveyed to the US, is that Taiwan would gladly host the event, he said.
The July forum was chaired by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and US Vice President Mike Pence gave the keynote speech.
Representative to the US Stanley Kao (高碩泰) attended the forum, but the foreign ministry has been tight-lipped about Taiwan’s role at that summit.
Additional reporting by CNA
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