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President Tsai meets US House delegation
President Tsai meets US House delegation

On the morning of October 12, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation from the United States House of Representatives. In remarks, President Tsai reiterated that Taiwan is willing to further deepen cooperation with the United States and Taiwan's other democratic partners to jointly maintain regional and global peace and stability. Noting that Taiwan and the US are important economic and security partners, the president expressed her hope to sign a high-standard bilateral trade deal as well as an avoidance of double taxation agreement with the US to create an even more investment-friendly environment for both sides, further strengthening and advancing the Taiwan-US partnership.

A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:

Welcome to the Presidential Office. Chairwoman [Eddie Bernice] Johnson, our meetings always leave a deep impression on me. Welcome back. Representative [Kai] Kahele, it is wonderful to see you again just one month after we last met. Representatives [Brad] Wenstrup, [Seth] Moulton, and [Michael] Waltz, welcome to Taiwan. I very much look forward to this opportunity to exchange views with all of you.

You are the eighth US congressional delegation to visit our Presidential Office this year. Your visit comes in the aftermath of China's military exercises in August. This assures us of the rock-solid support for, and bipartisan friendship toward, Taiwan in the US Congress.

The day before yesterday, Chairwoman Johnson took part in our National Day Celebration. Looking back over history, Taiwan's people overcame many challenges to make the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. That is why we will never bow to authoritarian suppression, and will continue to defend the values of democracy and freedom.

Over the past few months, we have seen the expansion of authoritarianism and how it has inflicted the pain of war on many people. To jointly maintain regional and global peace and stability, I want to reiterate that Taiwan is willing to further deepen cooperation with the US and all our other democratic partners.

Taiwan and the US are important economic and security partners. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for continuing to advocate for Taiwan in Congress through various means, demonstrating your strong support. For example, when the US government donated vaccines to Taiwan, and when the US Congress worked on the National Defense Authorization Act and other bills favorable to Taiwan, we saw you speaking up for Taiwan. You have helped deepen Taiwan-US cooperation and supported Taiwan's international participation.

I am very grateful for the importance that you attach to Taiwan and for your efforts to promote legislation to strengthen Taiwan's national defense. I hope that in the future, you will continue to introduce measures to further strengthen the Taiwan-US economic and security partnership.

With the launch of the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade, both sides are working closely together in preparation for the upcoming first round of talks. Apart from promoting the signing of a high-standard Taiwan-US trade deal, we also hope to sign an avoidance of double taxation agreement with the US to create an even more investment-friendly environment for both sides. I hope we could have your support for this.

Finally, my sincere thanks to you all for coming to Taiwan at this important time. In the future, let us continue to work together to further advance the Taiwan-US relationship. I wish you all a smooth trip. Thank you all.

Chairwoman Johnson then delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:

I am in Taiwan for the National Day Celebration this week to remind the world that our commitment to, and shared responsibility for, a free and secure Indo-Pacific region remains stronger than ever. Taiwan is a beacon of hope for democracy's future in Asia, as well as a vital trading partner for the United States and our allies around the world. This relationship is essential to our national and economic security. And I'm grateful to have the opportunity to relate this in person to the president and her administration. 

Texas and Taiwan share longstanding relationships based on trade, investment, and tourism. I'm delighted to hear, amidst the global chip shortage, Taiwan's silicon wafer manufacturing company GlobalWafers announcing that it will invest US$5 billion in a manufacturing plant. The wafers used in manufacturing semiconductors would also generate as many as 1,500 jobs in the town of Sherman, Texas, just north of my district. And it is the first US silicon wafer facility in more than two decades. We had a visit yesterday with the [GlobalWafers] CEO. 

Dallas County and Taoyuan have been sister cities since 2007. On September 27, 2021, I [met] with [Taoyuan] Mayor Cheng [Wen-tsan] (鄭文燦) by Zoom in my congressional office, and the idea of the [Taiwan Taoyuan] International Airport to join the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Preclearance [program] was mentioned. We had a [conversation] on this on this visit. On December 9, 2021, I introduced legislation with Representative Kat Cammack of Florida, titled the Taiwan Preclearance Act. The bill expressed the importance of the United States relationship with Taiwan and Taiwan's importance in the Indo-Pacific region. The [Taiwan] Taoyuan International Airport offers dozens of flights a week to and from the United States, with connections throughout Asia. The establishment of a preclearance facility will create seamless experiences for US-bound passengers and further encourage growth and travel between Taiwan and the United States. That is why I'm proud to work with Representative Cammack to increase security and convenience in the travel process through the establishment of the preclearance facility. Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican of Missouri, introduced the Senate companion bill. The bill is under consideration in the House Committees on Homeland Security and Ways and Means. 

As the chairwoman of the House Space and Technology Committee, I welcomed the [American Institute in Taiwan] AIT and [Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office] TECRO signing a science and technology agreement in 2020 to enhance scientific cooperation and joint research. The United States and Taiwan also engage in joint scientific cooperative endeavors in areas including meteorology, nuclear science, environmental protection, thoracic cancer research, atmospheric research, and public health and preventive medicine.

I look forward to strengthening Texas' bond between Taiwan and continuing my dialogue with President Tsai to create even more opportunity and a better future for our countries. Thank you.

Representative Moulton also delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:

Madam President, distinguished Taiwan officials, and my honorable colleagues: thank you very much for having us here today. Madam President, I am delighted to report that my 1 and 4-year-old daughters apparently loved the photos of Taiwan I sent them this morning. 

Our delegation from Congress is bipartisan. And it is mostly veterans. Speaking as veterans, we know the horrors of war and the value and strength of peace. We also know that, in the words of President Ronald Reagan, you achieve "peace through strength."

And that is why we are here to strengthen our partnership. President Tsai, you have shown great strength in your leadership. Thank you.  We look forward to strengthening and deepening the economic partnership between Taiwan and America. And we are strengthened by the exchange of ideas as we learn from you, and we hope you learn from us. 

What is most apparent in our relationship, in the strength of our relationship, is it is founded upon shared values – values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. Of course, these are not just shared values between America and Taiwan – they are human values, universal human values. They are shared by the Americans, by the Taiwanese, by the people of Ukraine, and, we believe, by the people of China. 

One thing we have learned as veterans is that you fight for shared values. We know that, like the people of Ukraine, the people of Taiwan stand on the ramparts of freedom. And we are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you. Thank you.

The delegation included Ranking Member Michael Waltz of the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Readiness, and was jointly led by Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of the US House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Ranking Member Brad Wenstrup of the US House Intelligence Committee's Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support, and Representative Seth Moulton. American Institute in Taiwan Taipei Office Acting Director Jeremy Cornforth accompanied the delegation to the Presidential Office.

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