On the morning of September 1, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by Congressman Rob Wittman, vice chairman of the United States House Armed Services Committee. President Tsai thanked the delegation for long promoting legislation in support of Taiwan, for paying close attention to Taiwan's security, and for demonstrating their friendship and support through this visit. The president said that in the face of expanding authoritarianism, it is more important than ever that democracies work together. She also said that we look forward to coordinating with the US and other democratic partners to jointly uphold regional stability and prosperity.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
I would like to welcome Vice Chairman Wittman, who is once again leading a delegation to Taiwan. I am also very happy to see Representative Carlos Gimenez again after our meeting at the Reagan Library in Los Angeles in April. And I warmly welcome Representatives Jen Kiggans and Michael Cloud, who are visiting Taiwan for the first time.
I want to thank our guests for long promoting legislation in support of Taiwan and for demonstrating their friendship and support through this visit. As close friends of Taiwan, you all pay close attention to Taiwan's security. Every year, you help ensure that the National Defense Authorization Act continues to include policy initiatives that bolster Taiwan's self-defense capabilities and deepen bilateral security cooperation.
Vice Chairman Wittman, you and many of the representatives here today, through the Armed Services Committee, have held hearings and made proposals, among other actions, to shape policy that strengthens US national defense. You are helping formulate a security blueprint to support the United States' allies in safeguarding freedom and democracy. In the face of expanding authoritarianism, it is more important than ever that democracies work together. We look forward to coordinating with the United States and other democratic partners to jointly uphold regional stability and prosperity.
In this, I am grateful for the bipartisan support of the US Congress. With the signing of the first agreement under the Taiwan-US Initiative on 21st Century Trade and the swift approval of its implementation act, I am confident that our countries will continue to deepen our economic partnership. To further strengthen mutual investments and industrial cooperation between Taiwan and the United States, I also hope that, with your support, we can resolve the issue of double taxation.
Thank you once again for coming and for demonstrating congressional support for Taiwan. I hope this visit will give you further insight into Taiwan and help us jointly expand bilateral cooperation across the board, putting both countries on a path to more prosperous development.
A transcript of Vice Chairman Wittman's remarks follows:
It is truly an honor and privilege to be here with you today representing our congressional delegation from the great state of Florida, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and great state of Texas. Our true honor.
We have a deep and long-term relationship between the United States and Taiwan. It goes back many years [and] the relationship continues to grow stronger. It's built upon shared values – shared values in democracy, in the rule of law, in technological development, and in economic development.
The United States-Taiwan relationship is strong and will continue to get stronger. It is based upon an element of trust, of understanding, and of mutual benefit to both nations.
There's bipartisan support in Congress for our relationship and enhancing the relationship. And we feel very strongly that we must pursue economic opportunities in both the United States and Taiwan – mutual benefit opportunities – ones where United States companies invest in Taiwan and Taiwan companies invest in the United States.
President Tsai, you know that any hostile, unprovoked attack on Taiwan will result in a resolute reaction from the United States. We know too of the incredible effort that Taiwan is putting forward in its own self-defense, [including] the extension now of service in the military, and we have an obligation to make sure that we fill the backlog of foreign military sales that exists now between our countries.
I can tell you that members of the House on both sides of the aisle are focused on making sure this US$19 billion backlog in foreign military sales gets fulfilled.
I will close with this: we know how incredibly important peace and stability is to the Indo-Pacific. That is our focus. We know it's our focus between friends and partners in the region. We are there to do everything possible to make sure that peace and stability reign in the Indo-Pacific. But we know peace and stability is built on a foundation of strength. We know strength is the best deterrence to anyone that may think there's an opportunity to act badly in this region.
President Tsai, thank you on behalf of our congressional delegation, on behalf of members of the United States House of Representatives, and we look forward to a very fruitful discussion.
Also in attendance at the meeting was American Institute in Taiwan Taipei Office Director Sandra Oudkirk.