The leader of a US congressional delegation to Taiwan praised the nation as a “force for good” in the world during a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday, and said that under her administration, ties with the US were more productive than in prior decades.
The five members of the US House of Representatives arrived on Thursday night for a two-day trip, the second time in a month that US lawmakers have visited.
Speaking during a meeting with Tsai at the Presidential Office, US Representative Mark Takano, who chairs the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said the lawmakers were in the region to remind partners and allies that the shared responsibility to a free and secure Indo-Pacific region remained stronger than ever.
“Madam President, I want to commend and praise your leadership. Under your administration, the bonds between us are more positive and productive than they have been for decades,” said Takano, who earlier led the group to Japan and South Korea.
“Our commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and has remained steadfast as the ties between us have deepened. Taiwan is a democratic success story, a reliable partner and a force for good in the world,” he added.
Takano said he was hopeful that travel to Taiwan by US policymakers would become “business as usual again,” as the COVID-19 pandemic gradually wanes.
The American Institute in Taiwan said that US representatives Nancy Mace, Colin Allred, Elissa Slotkin and Sara Jacobs were also part of the trip to Taiwan.
Mace and Slotkin said they had received demands from the Chinese embassy in Washington to cancel the visit.
“When News broke of our visit to Taiwan, China’s embassy demanded we cancel the trip (we didn’t),” Mace wrote on Twitter hours before her arrival in Taipei.
In another tweet, Mace referred to Taiwan, whose official name is the Republic of China, as “the Republic of Taiwan.”
After arriving, Slotkin wrote that her office had received a similarly “blunt message from the Chinese Embassy” telling her to call off the trip.
Welcoming the lawmakers, Tsai said: “Taiwan will continue to step up cooperation with the United States in order to uphold our shared values of freedom and democracy, and to ensure peace and stability in the region.”
Tsai also announced that the Veterans Affairs Council would establish a mission in the US early next year to boost bilateral exchanges.
“Veterans affairs is one area in which Taiwan and the US have enjoyed particularly close cooperation over the past few years,” Tsai said, adding that starting in January “our Veterans Affairs Council will have an official base in Washington.”
Tsai said the office would “help us better coordinate and expand their exchanges in health insurance, quality healthcare, employment assistance and long-term care for veterans.”
The council previously said it is planning to dispatch two retired military officers to the US, who would be housed in the Ministry of National Defense’s mission in Washington.
Additional reporting by CNA and AP
PROTECTION: The New Taipei City mayor said a pass could cover stores, but not eateries, while Ko Wen-je said vaccinated people could be exempted from some rules Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) on Saturday proposed implementing a “COVID-19 pass” regulation that would allow only vaccinated people into certain areas. New Taipei City is planning to require a “COVID-19 pass” for entry to “vulnerable spaces” to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Hou said. Non-students entering elementary schools in New Taipei City are required to show their COVID-19 vaccination cards or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. This is for the protection of students under the age of 12, who are not eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, city officials have said. The
BRIBES FOR VOTES: A probe found that funding for the scheme came from Huang Daonian, director of the Economic Bureau at Changsha City’s Taiwan Affairs Office Five Taiwanese businesspeople working in China were yesterday found guilty of taking money from Chinese authorities to buy votes for Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) in the 2020 presidential election. The Taipei District Court sentenced Association of Taiwan Investment Enterprises (台灣同胞投資企業協會) Changsha City Branch chairman Lin Huai (林懷) to three years and 10 months in jail, with deprivation of his civil rights for four years. The other four convicted in the case, who all received 20-month prison terms, were China New Family Association (中華兩岸新家庭協會) chairwoman Chiang Ming-sia (蔣明霞), Hunan Shaoyang City Association in Taiwan (湖南邵陽旅台同鄉會) director Chang Kuo-chun (張國君),
LUNAR NEW YEAR: The nation is expecting 4,200 international travelers to arrive today and 3,900 tomorrow, as people return home for the holidays, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said it expects imported cases of COVID-19 to further increase today and tomorrow — the peak period for international arrivals before the Lunar New Year holiday. The nation has seen more imported cases of COVID-19 since it implemented a new policy on Tuesday requiring travelers on long-haul flights to undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival. Those who test positive are taken directly to hospitals from airports. Most of the recent confirmed cases of COVID-19 were travelers arriving from the US, CECC data showed. On Tuesday, 58 of the 625 travelers arriving at Taiwan
‘GOOD FRIEND’: The Slovenian prime minister said he had visited Taiwan four or five times, and that Taiwanese should have the right to determine their future The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday welcomed Slovenia’s plan to establish a representative office in Taiwan, after Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa revealed the plan in an interview with Indian TV station Doordarshan on Monday. Taiwan is a democratic country that respects international democratic standards and international laws, the Slovenian prime minister said in the interview. Slovenia and Taiwan are working on “exchanging representatives,” he said. “Of course, this will not be on the level of embassies. It will be on the same level as many of the EU member countries.” “When I spoke with our businessmen who are trading with Taiwan, they