A US congressional delegation led by US Representative Stephanie Murphy yesterday met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to express support for Taiwan amid escalating threats from China.
Murphy, who is the vice chair of the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations, arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday night, along with seven other US representatives.
It is the second congressional delegation visiting the nation since a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi early last month.
Following China’s extensive military drills in the region over the past few weeks, the visit conveys the US Congress’ “rock solid” support for Taiwan, Tsai told the US delegation.
Tsai expressed hope that Taiwan and the US would sign a “high-standard economic trade agreement” through the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade, as well as an agreement to avoid double taxation.
Murphy told Tsai that the US-Taiwan relationship still grows and flourishes more than 40 years after the US’ Taiwan Relations Act took effect in 1979, adding that opportunities for closer cooperation and coordination across trade, security and cultural exchanges have also grown.
The US Congress should advocate for greater Taiwanese participation in international organizations, Murphy said.
“Taiwan has shown itself to be a responsible member of the international community, especially in public health issues, and it deserves to participate in international fora when appropriate,” she said.
“One of the most important things that the US Congress can do right now is to deepen economic relationships with Taiwan by pushing for a high-quality free-trade agreement between the US and Taiwan,” she added.
Separately, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said a Chinese invasion of Taiwan remains a “distinct threat,” while insisting that the administration of US President Joe Biden has not changed its position over the nation’s status, despite Chinese claims to the contrary.
“I think it remains a distinct threat that there could be a military contingency around Taiwan,” Sullivan said in an interview for The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations on Bloomberg Television.
Although Sullivan offered no prediction of when such an attack might occur, he said: “The People’s Republic of China has actually stated as official policy that it is not taking the invasion of Taiwan off the table.”
As the Biden administration grapples with increased tension over Taiwan, Sullivan said he planned to meet congressional leaders later on Wednesday to discuss a bill that would alter US policy toward Taiwan, including designating it a major non-NATO ally.
The bill, sponsored by Democrats, has wide bipartisan support.
The legislation would also provide Taiwan with US$4.5 billion in security aid and support its participation in international organizations.
“There are elements of that legislation with respect to how we can strengthen our security assistance for Taiwan that are quite effective and robust that will improve Taiwan security,” Sullivan told Rubenstein. “There are other elements that give us some concern.”
“The American position has remained steadfast and consistent,” Sullivan said. “We continue to believe that and we will continue to push back against any effort to change the status quo by force.”
The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Sullivan’s remarks.
However, in a meeting with reporters last month, Chinese Ambassador to the US Qin Gang (秦剛) said the US has “done too much” and is going “too far” in the region.
He called on the US to avoid escalating the situation and said China would be forced to respond if it does.
Qin also downplayed the threat of an imminent Chinese attack on Taiwan, saying he was not aware of a specific timeline.
“People are over-nervous about it,” he said, adding that speculation that China had moved up the timeline for an invasion was “baseless.”
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
SWITCH TO BEIJING: The government severed diplomatic relations about an hour after Honduras announced the move, saying that no semi-official ties would be maintained Taiwan severed diplomatic ties with Honduras and ended all cooperation with the Central American country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, about an hour and a half after the Honduran Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Twitter at 8am Taiwan time that the nation would cut its ties with Taiwan. Honduran President Xiomara Castro on Wednesday sent Honduran Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduardo Enrique Reina to Beijing to negotiate the establishment of diplomatic relations. She announced the plan on March 14 on Twitter. “To safeguard Taiwan’s sovereignty and dignity, Taiwan is terminating diplomatic ties with Honduras with immediate effect” after communication with
TRADE MISSION: After Fijian elections in December last year, pro-democratic parties formed a coalition and overruled a name change imposed by the former government The Taipei Trade Office in Fiji has been restored to its former name, the Trade Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the Republic of Fiji, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Fiji on Friday last week issued a note verbale to the office saying that the name change was retroactively effective from March 15, Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Director-General Wallace Chow (周民淦) told a news conference in Taipei. The mission’s diplomatic privileges have been reinstated as stipulated in Fiji’s Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act, which was enacted in 1971, Chow said. Taiwan set up a trade
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday departed for a 12-day trip to China as scheduled, despite calls for him to cancel the trip after Honduras severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan as an apparent result of China’s dollar diplomacy. “This is my first trip to China. I was 37 when I began handling cross-strait affairs in the government. Now I am 73 and have waited 36 years for the visit. It is indeed a bit too long, but I am glad I can go,” Ma of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) told reporters at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. “Aside from paying respects to
‘INDISPENSABLE ROLE’: Despite stopovers in the US, Tsai said the aim of her trip is to ‘demonstrate determination to deepen exchanges’ with the allies of the nation President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday afternoon left Taiwan on a 10-day trip to Central America that includes stopovers in New York and Los Angeles. “Through this visit, I will express my gratitude to diplomatic partners for their support of Taiwan,” Tsai said at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport shortly before boarding the plane. The trip to Guatemala and Belize — her first overseas journey since the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping around the world in early 2020 — aims to “demonstrate Taiwan’s determination to deepen exchanges” with its Central American allies, she said. Tsai said that she and her delegation would also explore the possibility