Taiwan’s friendly relationship with members of the US Congress provides a good foundation for expanding cooperation between the two sides, former US national security adviser John Bolton said yesterday.
Bolton, who arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday last week and is scheduled to leave today, met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at her official residence and Vice President William Lai (賴清德) at the Presidential Office yesterday.
The visit allowed him to meet and exchange views with many good friends, and to learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing Taiwan, he said.
Photo: AFP / Presidential Office
The two major parties in the US, despite their differences on the political spectrum, are both aware of the economic, political and military threats that Beijing poses to the world, he said.
Taiwan’s active diplomatic engagement in the US and friendly relations with US lawmakers have opened up more opportunities for cooperation, he said.
Tsai thanked Bolton for showing his support for Taiwan through the visit and for his long-term contributions to deepening Taiwan-US ties.
Standing on the front line of the defense of democracy, “we [Taiwanese] are not only determined, but also well-prepared to protect our homeland,” Tsai said.
Taiwan hopes to continue deepening cooperation with the US and other like-minded partners to safeguard peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and uphold the values of freedom and democracy, she said.
In addition to bolstering military and security exchanges, Taiwan and the US can seek further trade and economic opportunities, she said.
As a force for good that upholds regional peace and stability and democratic values, Taiwan will fulfill its duties and work with democratic partners to contribute to the development and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region, she added.
Lai said that Taiwan would continue to safeguard regional peace, as well as the nation’s democracy, freedom and economic development.
While serving as the White House national security adviser, Bolton supported US arms sales to Taiwan and Taiwan’s international participation, he said.
Lai expressed the hope that the US would support Taiwan’s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and explore the possibility of signing a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan.
Bolton said that he looked forward to exchanging views with the vice president on various issues, including China’s development in the next few years and concrete ways to further enhance the relationship between the US and Taiwan.
Bolton yesterday evening attended a 40th anniversary celebration for the Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), which promotes Taiwan’s sovereignty worldwide.
At the event in Taipei, which was also attended by Tsai and United Microelectronics Corp (聯華電子) founder Robert Tsao (曹興誠), Bolton said that telling Taiwan not to be provocative was misguided.
“There is only one country in this region that’s being provocative right now and its capital is Beijing,” he said. “It’s the existence of Taiwan that’s provocative to China.”
“It’s incumbent on the rest of the free world ... to stand by Taiwan and resist this provocative Chinese behavior,” he added, calling on the US to do more in its support.
This should include economic measures, diplomatic recognition of Taiwan, sending more US military personnel to to help Taiwanese with weapons training and sailing more freedom-of-navigation missions in the Taiwan Strait to emphasize to Beiijng that “those are not territorial waters of China,” Bolton said.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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