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President Tsai meets delegation led by US House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano
President Tsai meets delegation led by US House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano

On the morning of November 26, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a visiting congressional delegation led by United States Representative Mark Takano, chairman of the US House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. In remarks, President Tsai thanked the members of the bipartisan delegation for supporting Taiwan, and emphasized that Taiwan will continue to strengthen its cooperation with the US in regional affairs in order to uphold our shared values of freedom and democracy and to ensure peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

A translation of the president's remarks follows:

It's a pleasure to welcome you all to Taiwan. Ever since the start of the pandemic last year, Taiwan and the United States have been working together to control COVID-19 by sharing supplies and experience. Taiwan was deeply grateful to have received 4 million vaccine doses from the United States. And we are delighted to host today's bipartisan delegation, which once again shows that US congressional support for Taiwan comes from both sides of the aisle.

Representative Takano, I recall that when we met six years ago, I had just been nominated to run for president. I very much appreciated your warm welcome on Capitol Hill, and I am glad to have the opportunity today to welcome you and your delegation.

Representatives [Elissa] Slotkin, [Colin] Allred, [Sara] Jacobs, and [Nancy] Mace, I know you are all visiting Taiwan for the first time. Thank you for supporting Taiwan and for working to advance exchanges between our two countries.

Veterans' affairs is one area in which Taiwan and the US have enjoyed particularly close cooperation over the past few years. Thanks to our joint efforts, I can announce that, starting next January, our Veterans Affairs Council will have an official based in Washington, DC. This will help us better coordinate and expand our exchanges in health insurance, quality healthcare, employment assistance, and long-term care for veterans.

Taiwan and the US have strengthened our partnership in other areas as well. Just last week, Taiwan's first squadron of F-16V fighters entered service. This major upgrade is indeed the result of extensive cooperation between our defense industries.

In trade, Taiwan opened up our market to US pork, and our two sides resumed Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) negotiations earlier this year after a five-year hiatus. We believe these talks are laying a solid foundation for a stronger bilateral economic partnership.

Steady and predictable policy on both sides increases mutual trust and engagement. Taiwan is determined to resolve delicate trade issues, and hopes that these TIFA talks can help us further promote bilateral, regional, and international trade. Likewise, in terms of the regional situation, Taiwan will continue to step up cooperation with the United States in order to uphold our shared values of freedom and democracy, and to ensure peace and stability in the region.

I look forward to continued cooperation and real progress between our countries in this post-pandemic era, and I want to thank you all once again for traveling to Taiwan, especially over Thanksgiving break, which I believe shows how truly close our ties are. I wish you a successful and fruitful visit. Thank you!

A transcript of Representative Takano's remarks follows:

Thank you, President Tsai Ing-wen. And thank you for the warm welcome to Taiwan. I'm so glad that after nearly two years of self-quarantine and social distancing, leaders from the United States and Taiwan can finally resume our longstanding tradition of in-person dialogue.

This is only the third congressional delegation from the US Congress to travel to Taiwan this year, but I am hopeful, with the progress we've made together in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, that frequent travel to Taiwan by US policymakers will become business as usual again. 

We are here in Taiwan this week to remind our partners and allies that after two trying years we've endured, our commitments and our shared responsibility for a free and secure Indo-Pacific region remain stronger than ever. Taiwan has been a world leader and deserves much credit for the global response to the pandemic. Taiwan was the largest international donor of COVID-19-related medical equipment to the United States, and Taiwan has been equally generous to its 15 diplomatic partners and other countries around the world. The world has heard you loud and clear: "Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is helping."

Madam President, I want to commend and praise your leadership. Under your administration, the bonds between us are more positive and productive than they have been for decades.

Today, we are working together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, support our robust trade and investment ties to advance our joint economic prosperity, address the climate crisis, and promote transparency, human rights, inclusion, and the rule of law in the region and around the world.

Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid, and has remained steadfast as the ties between us have deepened. Taiwan is a democratic success story, a reliable partner, and a force for good in the world. We are immensely proud that the friendship and trust we share with Taiwan has flourished.

Madam President, it is truly a pleasure to be here in Taiwan with you and everyone in attendance today as we look forward to the future where we will go further, faster, and most importantly, together.

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