Two US representatives arrived in Taiwan on Friday for a five-day visit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, but declined to comment on the non-publicized visit of a Pentagon official.
After US Senator Ted Cruz attended the Double Ten National Day celebrations last month, the visit by US representatives Bill Flores and Guy Reschenthaler shows the joint support Taiwan enjoys in the US Congress, the ministry said in a statement.
Cruz, Flores and Reschenthaler are members of the Republican Party.
Flores and Reschenthaler are adamant friends of Taiwan, and have signed many bills or joint letters in support of the nation, the ministry said.
A member of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, Flores has visited Taiwan twice before, and has signed congressional petitions supporting the nation’s participation in Interpol and the International Civil Aviation Organization, it said.
Reschenthaler has signed the US’ Taiwan Reassurance Act, and Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative, and voted in favor of a resolution reaffirming the US’ commitment to Taiwan and to carrying out its Taiwan Relations Act, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, Heino Klinck, the US deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, also visited Taiwan this week, but his visit was not officially announced. It was reported by the Chinese-language United Daily News on Friday.
Klinck oversees defense policy throughout East Asia, was sworn into office in August, and has three decades of experience in the private sector and the military, according to the US Department of Defense Web site.
He is the most senior Pentagon official to visit Taiwan in more than a decade and his visit came as the US is discussing options for boosting Taiwan’s defense capabilities in the face of increasing threat from China ahead of the Jan. 11 elections, the Financial Times reported yesterday.
American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen did not respond to queries for comment on Klinck’s visit during a news conference on Friday.
The ministry declined to comment on Klinck’s visit, only saying he is the AIT’s guest.
In related news, a former senior adviser in the administration of US President Donald Trump on Friday said that Washington should send a Cabinet official to Taiwan whenever China steals one of Taipei’s diplomatic allies, to send a message to Beijing.
Christian Whiton, who also served as a senior adviser in the administration of former US president George W. Bush, made the remarks at a forum held by the Hudson Institute in Washington.
Whiton also suggested that the US allow Taiwan’s president and minister of foreign affairs to visit Washington to counter Beijing’s political warfare instead of only making transit stops in US cities when visiting Taipei’s allies.
In the past three years, seven diplomatic allies have switched recognition to China, leaving 15 allies that recognize Taiwan diplomatically.
Additional reporting by CNA
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