President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy reaffirmed the strong partnership between Taiwan and the US, and their commitment to safeguarding regional stability, following their meeting in California on Wednesday.
“I believe our bond is stronger now than at any time or point in my lifetime,” McCarthy told a joint news conference with Tsai following a two-hour closed-door meeting at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.
The meeting was also attended by a bipartisan group of US lawmakers. It was the first meeting between a Taiwanese president and a US House speaker on US soil, and the third since Washington severed formal diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979.
“Taiwan is a successful democracy, a thriving economy, and a global leader in health and science. And whether it’s our deep commercial ties, strong people-to-people relationships, or shared values, our cooperation with the people of Taiwan continue to expand through dialogue and exchange,” McCarthy said.
He said the friendship between Taiwanese and Americans “is a matter of profound importance to the free world,” and is critical to maintaining economic freedom, peace and regional stability.
Touting Wednesday’s meeting as a “bipartisan meeting of Republicans and Democrats united together,” McCarthy said the US would honor its obligations and commitment to its shared values with Taiwan.
Tsai told the news conference that the presence of bipartisan lawmakers at the meeting and their unwavering support reassures Taiwanese that “we are not isolated, and we are not alone.”
Taiwan’s peace and democracy, which it has worked hard to build and maintain, are facing “unprecedented challenges,” Tsai said.
“We once again find ourselves in a world where democracy is under threat. And the urgency of keeping the beacon of freedom shining cannot be understated,” she said.
Tsai said that during her meeting with US congressional leaders, she reiterated Taiwan’s commitment to defending the “peaceful status quo” and highlighted the belief championed by former US president Ronald Reagan that “to preserve peace, we must be strong.”
“We are stronger when we are together,” she said.
She thanked US lawmakers for proposing initiatives to enhance Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities, foster robust trade and economic ties between Taiwan and the US, and support the nation’s meaningful participation in the international community.
Tsai also paid tribute to Reagan, who she said played a crucial role in protecting and fortifying Taiwan-US relations at a time of changing diplomatic realities.
The Reagan administration’s “six assurances,” passed in 1982, as well as the landmark Taiwan Relations Act, laid the foundation for a strong and unique partnership that has lasted for more than four decades, during which Taiwan enjoyed peace, prosperity and democracy, Tsai said.
Wednesday’s meeting took place eight months after McCarthy’s predecessor, then-US House speaker Nancy Pelosi, visited Taipei in August last year and met with Tsai at the Presidential Office.
Pelosi’s visit was the first by a sitting US House speaker since a trip by Newt Gingrich in 1997. It prompted China to launch week-long large-scale military drills around Taiwan, and suspend the imports of dozens of Taiwanese agricultural and food products.
Beijing has raised objections to the meeting between Tsai and McCarthy.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Mao Ning (毛寧) earlier this week told a news briefing that Beijing would “take resolute measures” to protect its national interests should the two meet.
WHEELING AND DEALING? Hou You-yi, Ko Wen-je, Eric Chu and Ma Ying-jeou are under investigation for allegedly offering bribes for the other side to drop out of the race Taipei prosecutors have started an investigation into allegations that four top politicians involved in attempts to form a “blue-white” presidential ticket have contravened election regulations. Listed as defendants are Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜), KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the KMT and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲). The case stemmed from judicial complaints filed last month with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office alleging that the KMT (blue) and the TPP (white) had engaged in bribery by offering money or other enticements
EXPOSED: Some Taipei wardens reported joining the trips out of peer pressure, while others said they were relieved it was made public so they could refuse, a city councilor said Nearly 30 percent of Taipei borough wardens have joined group tours to China that were partially funded by the Chinese government, leading prosecutors probing potential Chinese interference in January’s elections to question local officials, an investigation showed. Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City councilors Chien Shu-pei (簡舒培) and Chen E-jun (陳怡君) have reported cases of Taipei borough wardens inviting residents to join inexpensive privately organized group tours to China that were partially funded by the Chinese government. The six-day trips reportedly cost NT$10,000 to NT$15,000, the councilors said. An investigation by the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) showed that nearly 30 percent
ELIGIBLE FOR JANUARY: All presidential candidates and their running mates meet the requirements to run for office, and none hold dual citizenship, the CEC said Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator and vice presidential candidate Cynthia Wu (吳欣盈) is working with the Central Election Commission (CEC) to resolve issues with her financial disclosure statement, a spokesman for the candidate said yesterday, after the commission published the statements of all three presidential candidates and their running mates, while confirming their eligibility to run in the Jan. 13 election. Wu’s office spokesman, Chen Yu-cheng (陳宥丞), said the candidate encountered unforeseen difficulties disclosing her husband’s finances due to being suddenly thrust into the campaign. She is also the first vice presidential nominee to have a foreign spouse, complicating the reporting of
GOOD NEWS: Although open civic spaces are shrinking in Asia-Pacific countries and territories, Taiwan’s openness is a positive sign, an expert said Taiwan remains the only country in Asia with an “open” civic space for the fifth consecutive year, the Civicus Monitor said in a report released yesterday. The People Power Under Attack 2023 report named Taiwan as one of only 37 open countries or territories out of 198 globally, and the only one in Asia. Compiled by Civicus — a global alliance of civil society organizations dedicated to bolstering civil action — the ranking compiled annually since 2017 measures the state of freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression around the world. Researchers assign each country or territory one of five rankings describing the