A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach yesterday ended their visit, with the government saying that Taiwan and the US would continue to bolster economic ties.
After arriving in Taiwan on Thursday afternoon, the delegation yesterday attended a memorial service for former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and exchanged opinions with high-ranking officials and members of different sectors over various issues, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Krach is the highest-ranking US Department of State official to visit Taiwan since the two nations cut relations in 1979, it said.
Photo provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via CNA
Based on discussions with the group, the government would continue to work with the US to strengthen economic ties and bilateral partnerships, it added.
After hosting an evening banquet with delegation members at the presidential residence on Friday, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) posted several photographs of the meeting on Facebook, which showed that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) founder Morris Chang (張忠謀) also attended the dinner.
They were joined by Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津), Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花), National Security Council Secretary-General Wellington Koo (顧立雄) and Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中).
Photo: AFP / Presidential Office
Tsai wrote on Facebook that they had in-depth exchanges, adding that she hopes for additional dialogue.
Most of the US delegation’s meetings were held behind closed doors, unlike last month’s visit from a delegation led by US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
Keeping Krach’s meetings low-profile was not entirely Taiwan’s choice, a source familiar with the matter said, adding that there were some communications between agencies in Washington.
The Office of the US Trade Representative, which manages trade discussions, was viewing the visit closely, and might decide Taiwan has not made enough concessions or be watching how it resolves a disagreement over US pork imports containing ractopamine residues, they said.
The office might also be concerned if Krach’s delegation made too many commitments to Taiwan that create obstacles to future trade negotiations, they added.
Krach’s visit to Taiwan is already a diplomatic breakthrough, showing that Taiwan and the US can have more direct and closer communication, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said.
Prior to the administration of US President Donald Trump, Taiwan’s affairs were rarely a priority for the US, and Washington often viewed Taiwan through the lens of Beijing, he added.
After Krach commenced “preparatory talks” for the Taiwan-US Economic and Commercial Dialogue, other US officials might visit, he said.
Meanwhile, Chang’s attendance at the banquet showed that Taiwan could play a vital role in the US’ plans to promote its 5G Clean Path initiative and restructuring supply chains related to information technology, Wang added.
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