President Tsai Ing-wen met with former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan on the morning of April 15. She thanked former Speaker Ryan for his contributions to Taiwan-US relations during his tenure, and thanked the members of the US Senate and House of Representatives for their longstanding support for Taiwan. She expressed hope that ties between Taiwan and the United States will grow even closer, and that we can create a peaceful, stable, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific based on our strong cooperative partnership.
Before the meeting, President Tsai and former Speaker Ryan toured the Presidential Office Building's permanent and special centennial exhibitions accompanied by National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), AIT Taipei Office Director William Brent Christensen, and ROC Representative to the United States Stanley Kao (高碩泰).
As Third Bureau Director-General Nan-yang Lee introduced the exhibition, President Tsai and former Speaker Ryan paused in front of four separate photos: a photo of former ROC Minister of Foreign Affairs George Yeh (葉公超) and John Foster Dulles, former United States Secretary of State, signing the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty in 1954; a photo of US aircraft, flying from Guam, passing over the review stand during Taiwan's Double Tenth National Day Celebrations in 1961; a photo of former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) meeting with American scholars in Taiwan for the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and Sino-American Relations Conference in 1988; and a photo of a public hearing held on the 20th Anniversary of the TRA in 1999.
In remarks, President Tsai began by welcoming former Speaker Ryan on his first visit to Taiwan. She expressed her delight at having the opportunity to tour the Presidential Office Building centennial exhibition together, where they witnessed the century of foreign regimes and authoritarianism this building has weathered, followed by democratization and the rise of Taiwanese identity.
The president stated that just earlier this month, the Presidential Office Concert was held on the square in front of the Presidential Office Building. During the concert, the Taiwanese indigenous singer Sangpuy stood on top of the main entrance porch. Before Sangpuy, she said, the last person to stand atop the porch was former President Chiang Kai-shek. She expressed her belief that these changes are a reflection of Taiwan's democratic progress.
The president mentioned that this year is not just the 100th anniversary of the Presidential Office Building, but also the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the TRA. Recently, many commemorative activities and meetings have been held in both Taipei and Washington, D.C. to celebrate the ever-growing partnership between Taiwan and the United States. The visit by former Speaker Ryan's delegation, she said, further underscores the importance that the United States attaches to implementing the TRA.
The president pointed out that the TRA has helped create a critical institutional framework for substantive exchanges and collaboration between Taiwan and the United States in trade and security. If the US Congress had not passed the TRA 40 years ago, she said, the Taiwan-US partnership would not have become as close and robust as it is today. Bipartisan support for Taiwan in the US Congress has never waned over the past four decades, and this has played a key role in advancing Taiwan-US relations.
She emphasized that particularly during former Speaker Ryan's tenure, the House of Representatives passed many bills and resolutions in favor of Taiwan, including the Taiwan Travel Act, passed last year, as well as bills endorsing Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization and Interpol. These legislative actions have served as great encouragement for Taiwan, she added, and have further strengthened our determination to contribute to the international community. She thanked former Speaker Ryan for his contributions to Taiwan-US relations during his tenure as Speaker, as well as all the Senators and Representatives for their longstanding support for Taiwan.
The president stated that looking ahead, Taiwan's government has every confidence that Taiwan-US relations will continue to grow even closer, and that together we can use our constructive influence in the region to create a peaceful, stable, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific, based on our existing foundation of cooperation.
In closing, the president expressed hope that more American friends will understand that Taiwan is a reliable partner in the Indo-Pacific. Taiwan's existence helps ensure a balance of power and bolsters democratic development in the region, and we are an indispensable force for good in the world.
In his remarks that followed, former Speaker Ryan thanked President Tsai for her warm hospitality, as well as for leading his delegation on a tour of the Presidential Office Building. He stated that he led this delegation to Taiwan on behalf of the US House of Representatives and the Trump administration to take part in the activities commemorating the 40th anniversary of the TRA. The support for the spirit of the TRA in the US Congress is as strong today as it was when it was passed 40 years ago, he said.
Former Speaker Ryan stated that the strength of Taiwan-US relations stems from the TRA, which was passed by the US Congress. The US Congress made the TRA more than just the policy of the administration in power by encoding it into law, and the Act has stood the test of time and transcended administrations. To this day, the TRA enjoys strong bipartisan support in the US Congress, he said.
Former Speaker Ryan pointed out that this is because the American people have a strong affinity for the people of Taiwan, and Taiwan and the United States share values of free trade, rule of law, and democracy, and a vision for an open and free Indo-Pacific Region. The TRA, he said, is a perfect example of the manifestation of those values, and he expressed his belief that there are many areas that Taiwan and the United States can continue to develop on, particularly in trade and security.
Former Speaker Ryan stated that he is from Wisconsin, and it is a source of great pride for him that one of the drafters of the TRA, Clement Zablocki, was also from Wisconsin.
Former Speaker Ryan then thanked President Tsai once again for her warm reception, and expressed hope for further development and cooperation in Taiwan-US relations in the future.