At noon on April 8, President Tsai Ing-wen hosted a luncheon for a delegation led by United States House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul at the Taipei Guest House. In remarks, President Tsai thanked the US Congress for fulfilling US security commitments to Taiwan through bipartisan cooperation on legislation. President Tsai also said that she looks forward to concluding more negotiations and building an even closer partnership under the framework of the Taiwan-US Initiative on 21st-Century Trade, and emphasized that we will continue to work with the US and other like-minded countries to jointly defend the values of freedom and democracy.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
Yesterday, I completed my first overseas trip since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. During my transit in the United States, I met with US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and many other senators and representatives. Today, just after returning to Taiwan, I am delighted to be receiving our good friends from the US.
The last time I saw Congressman McCaul was in 2019, during a stopover in New York. On this occasion, Congressman McCaul is leading a bipartisan delegation to Taiwan for the first time in his capacity as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. I thank our distinguished guests for demonstrating their staunch support for Taiwan.
The US Congress has long been a key force in developing US-Taiwan relations. The House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Congressman McCaul, plays an especially important role. This year, soon after the new Congress convened, the House passed the Taiwan Assurance Implementation Act with an overwhelming majority, further deepening Taiwan-US relations.
I want to thank the US Congress for fulfilling US security commitments to Taiwan through bipartisan cooperation on legislation. For example, the National Defense Authorization Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 include several provisions that help strengthen regional security cooperation and support Taiwan in bolstering its defenses.
In addition to further strengthening security cooperation, we look forward to concluding more negotiations and building an even closer partnership under the framework of the Taiwan-US Initiative on 21st-Century Trade.
In recent years, we have faced expanding authoritarianism. Cooperation among democracies has become even more important. I would like to reiterate that the people of Taiwan love democracy, seek peace, and are keen to fulfill their responsibilities in the international community. We will continue to work with the US and other like-minded countries to jointly defend the values of freedom and democracy.
Great strides have been made in Taiwan-US relations thanks to the importance that all of you attach to Taiwan and the support that we receive from the US Congress. In the future, I look forward to even greater cooperation between our two sides.
Chairman McCaul then delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:
Madam President, Foreign Minister, on behalf of the delegation, let me first say, women ai Taiwan. Which means, for my colleagues, we love Taiwan. And let me congratulate you on your recent visit to the United States. You're a very brave and courageous leader and President of Taiwan, and really, we just can't thank you enough. We are stronger when we stand together. We come to Taiwan, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans, in strong support of this beautiful island.
Madam President, we've been to INDOPACOM in Hawaii, to give briefings, to Guam to visit our B52s and other airplanes, our forward operating base to Japan and South Korea. We've met with Prime Minister Kishida [Fumio] and President Yoon [Suk Yeol] and are now honored to be meeting you, Madam President, today.
It is important that all democracies stand together against tyranny and oppression, whether it be [Vladimir] Putin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine to Communist China's acts of aggression against your nation and the Pacific. Not since World War II have we seen such a struggle for the global balance of power.
Madam President, we visited with Taiwanese executives from semiconductor companies to aerospace. Taiwan has a vibrant economy and strong economic ties with the United States. You're our eighth largest trading partner, and freedom of navigation is key for Taiwanese and the global economic prosperity.
Taiwan's strength, openness, and resiliency is the envy of Communist China, for the CCP fears its own people more than anything. And the oppressed people of China only need to look across the straits to see what a democracy really looks like.
I remember the last time we met, in New York, Madam President, you told me that Chairman Xi [Jinping] thinks that democracy doesn't work, that it's dysfunctional and ineffective. He said that, as an authoritarian, he can make decisions and execute quickly. Well, I say Chairman Xi is wrong. In a democracy, people are free. In a democracy, people have guaranteed rights. In a democracy, human rights and human dignity are respected. Taiwan and the United States share the same ideals and values, and our relationship is strong.
And as you pointed out, Madam President, it was the United States Congress that passed the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979. It set the direction of our relationship and guarantees that the United States will provide Taiwan arms to defend itself. And it was the United States Congress that passed the Taiwan Assurances Act, as you pointed out, and the Taiwan Enhanced Resiliency Act, a bill that I introduced. And as the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, I sign off on all foreign military sales, including weapons to Taiwan. And I promise you, Madam President, we will deliver those weapons.
We are doing everything we can in Congress to speed up these sales and get you the weapons that you need to defend yourself. And we will provide training to your military, not for war, but for peace.
For as Ronald Reagan said, we achieve peace through strength. Projecting weakness only invites aggression and conflict. Projecting strength provides deterrence and promotes peace. So in closing, Taiwan has inspired the world. Your bravery, your courage, it has inspired the world as a beacon of hope and democracy. And I look forward to a great future, together, our two nations, one of peace and prosperity. Madam President, we stand with Taiwan.
The delegation also included US House of Representatives members Young Kim, Ami Bera, French Hill, Guy Reschenthaler, Madeleine Dean, Michael Lawler, and Nathaniel Moran, and was accompanied to the Taipei Guest House by American Institute in Taiwan Taipei Office Director Sandra Oudkirk.