On the morning of September 8, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by United States Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, Vice Chair of the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations. In remarks, President Tsai thanked the delegation for visiting Taiwan not long after China's prolonged military exercises in the area, demonstrating rock-solid support for Taiwan from the US Congress. The president emphasized that Taiwan will not bow to pressure or coercion, and will defend our democratic institutions and way of life, reiterating Taiwan's resolve to not back down and deepen cooperation with our democratic partners to jointly uphold peace and stability in the region. The president also expressed hope that working together, we can make even greater progress in our bilateral relationship.
A translation of the president's remarks follows:
I extend a very warm welcome to your delegation. I have received many friends from the United States at the Presidential Office throughout this session of the US Congress. This is the largest delegation of House representatives to date. Your delegation includes both Democrat and Republican members of four different House committees: Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, and Ways and Means. But what you all have in common is that you are true friends of Taiwan.
For many years, each of you has paid close attention to Taiwan-US relations and the challenges Taiwan faces. Be it Taiwan's security or participation in the World Health Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, you have supported Taiwan through a range of bills, resolutions, and other initiatives.
In May last year, when there was a surge in COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, Representative [Andy] Barr brooked no delay in sending a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State [Antony] Blinken. Signed by 62 lawmakers, the communication urged the US government to include Taiwan in the first wave of recipients of COVID-19 vaccine shipments. Representatives Kai Kahele, Joe Wilson, and Kat Cammack joined this effort and signed the letter in the hope that Taiwan be added to the list. On behalf of the Taiwanese people, I thank you once again for this gesture.
This support from the US Congress allowed Taiwan to acquire more vaccines to fight the pandemic. Taiwan's donations of face masks and the US's donations of vaccines added to the virtuous cycle between our countries and deepened our friendship.
I also want to thank the delegation for visiting not long after China's prolonged military exercises in the area, demonstrating rock-solid support for Taiwan from the US Congress. Here, I want to take this opportunity to tell our friends that Taiwan will not bow to pressure or coercion. We will defend our democratic institutions and way of life. Taiwan will not back down. We will further deepen our cooperation with our democratic partners to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the region.
Taiwan will also continue to work with the US to forge even closer economic ties. We have already announced that negotiations under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade will begin soon. We are confident that through this initiative, we can sign a high-standard trade agreement and advance bilateral trade development. Looking ahead, we also hope to sign an Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement with the United States to create a better investment environment for both sides. I look forward to your support on this endeavor.
In the past few years, Taiwan and the US have constantly supported each other in the face of such challenges as the global pandemic. We have moved forward in tandem, never stopping. Thank you again for your visit, which represents another big step in advancing Taiwan-US cooperation. With our joint efforts, I look forward to seeing even greater progress in our bilateral relationship. Thank you!
Congresswoman Murphy then delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:
Madam President, I'm grateful to you and the people of Taiwan for so graciously hosting our bipartisan congressional delegation. Our delegation, as with every congressional delegation that has visited, is a symbol of Congress's rock-solid commitment to Taiwan.
This message is especially strong coming from Congress, which is a co-equal branch of the American government, with the power to craft legislation and policy that often remains in place across multiple presidential administrations.
There is perhaps no greater testament to this than the Taiwan Relations Act, which Congress passed more than 40 years ago, and under which the US-Taiwan relationship still grows and flourishes. As our bilateral relationship has grown over generations, so too have opportunities for closer cooperation and coordination across trade, security, and cultural exchanges.
When it comes to deepening the US-Taiwan partnership, I see opportunity for cooperation across a wide range of areas. Congress should advocate for greater Taiwanese participation in international organizations. 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.
One of the most important things Congress can do right now is to deepen [the] economic relationship with Taiwan, and in particular, by pushing for a high-quality free trade agreement between the US and Taiwan. We also cannot underestimate the power of cultural exchanges across academia, civil society, and government. And I personally would like to see a Din Tai Fung in Orlando.
In all, I'm greatly optimistic about the direction our relationship is heading, and particularly in the congressional support for deep and sustained ties. I'm eager to hear your views on the overall relationship. And now I will turn to my distinguished colleague from Florida Congressman Scott Franklin for his remarks. Thank you.
Following Congresswoman Murphy's remarks, Congressman Scott Franklin also spoke. Below is a transcript of his remarks:
Thank you, Madam President for your support and hosting our delegation. Our presence here demonstrates the commitment of the United States Congress to Taiwan. I'm particularly proud of how our partnership between the United States and Taiwan has grown over the years.
It's not just about areas related to security, while those are important, it also includes items such as technology and modernization. No doubt Taiwan's production of semiconductors is critical to the global supply chain.
Thank you once again for your hospitality and dialogue as this is my first time visiting Taiwan. I look forward to increasing and strengthening our partnership over the years to come. Thank you.
The delegation also included Members of the US House of Representatives Kai Kahele, Joe Wilson, Andy Barr, Darrell Issa, Claudia Tenney, and Kat Cammack. They were accompanied to the Presidential Office by American Institute in Taiwan Taipei Office Director Sandra Oudkirk.