Taiwan is working to strengthen “substantive” relations with the US, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday when asked about the future of the relationship following comments from prominent US politicians calling for closer ties between the two nations.
Formal diplomatic recognition “admittedly cannot be achieved overnight,” but “we take strengthening the substantive relationship between the two sides as our greatest effort at present,” Su told a hearing at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
He was responding to a question from Taiwan People’s Party Legislator Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠) over whether the government intends to maintain “pragmatic” relations with Washington, or is looking to establish more formal diplomatic ties.
Chiu cited increasingly vocal appeals from US politicians to deepen ties with Taiwan in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including from former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who during a visit to the nation earlier this month called for formal diplomatic recognition.
Pompeo repeated his call in an interview with the Washington-based Hudson Institute published on Monday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday responded by saying that Taiwan cherishes the former state secretary’s steadfast friendship, but added that his comments are those of a private citizen and it would decline to comment further.
Former American Institute in Taiwan director William Stanton at a forum on Saturday said that he does not foresee any major changes in US engagement any time soon, adding that practical measures are more important than diplomatic recognition.
Su told legislators that the nation is happy to see these and other expressions of “rock-solid” support for the Taiwan-US relationship, but establishing diplomatic or other formal ties would “come naturally when the conditions are ripe.”
Meanwhile, National Endowment for Democracy president and chief executive Damon Wilson yesterday said he intentionally chose Taiwan as his first stop in Asia since assuming office in July last year to demonstrate that “we stand with Taiwan.”
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) received Wilson at the Presidential Office, where the two discussed the importance of democracies coming together to counter rising authoritarianism.
“We are committed to safeguarding Taiwan’s democracy and to working with Taiwan to safeguard democracies around the world,” Wilson said.
He also touted the choice of Taiwan as host of the World Movement for Democracy’s 11th Global Assembly later this year, a decision he announced at a news conference on Monday.
“Taiwan will be at the center of a global agenda for freedom, as part of integrating Taiwanese perspective into the world, ensuring Taiwan is a hub of democrats,” Wilson said.
“The assembly will gather democratic leaders and activists from around the world in what is a consequential moment for freedom,” he said, referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The war once again exposes the need for democratic nations to join together to oppose authoritarianism, Tsai said, adding that she looks forward to sharing Taiwan’s experiences of bolstering the resilience of democracy.
Calling the Ukrainians’ defense of their homeland “through a whole-of-society approach” inspiring, she expressed the wish for Taiwan to participate in defense exchanges to learn from other nations’ experiences.
Taiwan is also excited to share its experiences in countering misinformation at the Oct. 24 to 27 assembly, which is to advance cooperation and solidarity among democracies, she added.
Additional reporting by Lu Yi-hsuan and Lin Liang-sheng
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