Former US House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan is to head a delegation to Taiwan in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) announced yesterday.
The delegation is to participate in a series of events, including a ceremony at the AIT’s new office compound in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖) on Monday next week and the Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit at Taipei’s Songshan Cultural and Creative Park (松山文創園區) on Tuesday, the AIT said in a statement.
The Central News Agency reported that Ryan would be a speaker at Monday’s ceremony and reception at the AIT’s new location, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter.
Photo courtesy of Congressional Pictorial Directory
The TRA was signed into law by then-US president Jimmy Carter on April 10, 1979, the same year that the AIT was established.
The news comes after the US House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday unanimously voted for two bills — House Resolution 273 (HR 273; Reaffirming the United States commitment to Taiwan and to the implementation of the Taiwan Relations Act) and House Resolution 2002 (HR 2002; Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019) — to be sent to the House floor for consideration.
“Taiwan is a strong democratic ally and is increasingly under threat from communist China,” US Representative and committee leader Michael McCaul said.
HR 2002 “reaffirms our support for Taiwan’s defense capabilities and advocates for their participation in international organizations,” said McCaul, who introduced the bill.
“As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, it is important for our friend Taiwan to know that our alliance will only grow stronger,” he added.
The committee shared on Facebook a GIF of the 14 resolutions that were considered at Tuesday’s session: HR 2002 was listed beside a Republic of China national flag, while HR 273 was listed beside a logo that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs designed in honor of the TRA’s 40th anniversary.
The ministry called the committee’s approval of the resolutions on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the TRA “significant.”
The ministry would closely follow any future legislation favorable to Taiwan, it said.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US said on Facebook that it sincerely thanks the US Congress for its support of long-term, deeper Taiwan-US relations, as well as Taiwan’s efforts to protect its sovereignty, the values of democracy and freedom, and safety in the Taiwan Strait.
HR 273 says that the TRA and the “six assurances” — proposed by Taiwan and issued in 1982 by the administration of then-US president Ronald Reagan — are “cornerstones of United States policy with respect to Taiwan.”
The resolution also says that “communication on bilateral security, cultural and commercial interests would be greatly enhanced with the full implementation of the Taiwan Travel Act,” which was passed last year.
The US president should “conduct regular transfers of defense articles to Taiwan consistent with Taiwan’s national security requirements in accordance to prior legislation, including the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018,” it says.
The resolution also calls on the US secretary of state to “actively engage internationally in support of Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations engaged in addressing transnational threats and challenges such as those related to health, aviation security, and crime and terrorism.”
Additional reporting by CNA
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