US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday emphasized the importance of US legislation that encourages reciprocal high-level visits by US and Taiwanese officials.
Fielding questions during a hearing of a US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee subcommittee in Washington, Pompeo called the Taiwan Travel Act a “very important piece of legislation.”
“You have seen our administration do a great deal to implement that. I’m sure there is more to follow, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of what we are doing,” he said when asked by US Representative Steve Chabot to comment on the act’s implementation.
Chabot, who has long called for Pompeo to invite President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to speak to the US Congress, said that thanks to the act, US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback concluded a trip to Taiwan two weeks ago.
“Can we, and the people of Taiwan, count on you to advocate for further implementation of the Taiwan Travel Act?” Chabot asked Pompeo.
Pompeo said that he perfectly understands the importance of US-Taiwan relations.
“You have seen what we’ve done with respect to Taiwan. Just a few days ago we sailed through the [Taiwan] Strait,” he said, referring to the passage on Sunday of the US Navy destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur and the US Coast Guard cutter Bertholf, the third such transit this year.
“More importantly, we have taken a much fuller view than previous administrations — this is not partisan, this goes back to Republicans and Democrats alike — of the concerns about the risk that China presents to American wealth creation and our continued democracy,” Pompeo added.
Separately, US Indo-Pacific Commander Admiral Philip Davidson said in a statement before the House Armed Services Committee that the US has “a deep and abiding interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and welcomes steps by both sides to reduce tension and improve cross-strait relations.”
However, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) “solution of a ‘one country, two systems’ approach to reunification does not reflect the wishes of both sides,” Davidson said.
Although Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party have committed to “avoid confrontation and prevent surprises” with China, the cross-strait situation is of increasing concern, given the “harsh rhetoric from Beijing toward the leadership in Taipei,” Davidson said.
Concerned with China’s military buildup across the Strait, the US is focused on improving joint interoperability within Taiwan’s military, improving Taiwan’s readiness and supporting Taiwan’s military in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, Davidson said.
It is rare for the command to express a view on China’s “one country, two systems” framework, and Davidson’s statement has been officially recorded by the US House.
The US’ posture on cross-strait relations is based on the Taiwan Relations Act, Davidson said, adding that the US maintains a substantive and robust unofficial relationship with Taiwan, opposes any unilateral change to the “status quo” and supports a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues.
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