US Lawmakers visit Taiwan to show support amid tensions


Diaz Balart and Democrat Ami Bera, both co-chairs of the congressional Taiwan Caucus, arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday for a three-day visit…reports Asian Lite News

Two United States House of Representatives members told former Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and Taiwan President-elect Lai Ching-te on Thursday that their current visit to Taipei was meant to showcase bipartisan support from the US Congress for Taiwan, Central News Agency Taiwan reported on Friday.

It reported that the visiting delegation sends a clear message that the US Congress, across party lines, firmly supports Taiwan and its prosperity and security, Representative Mario Diaz Balart of the Republican Party told Tsai during a closed-door meeting, according to a press release issued by the Presidential Office.

Diaz Balart and Democrat Ami Bera, both co-chairs of the congressional Taiwan Caucus, arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday for a three-day visit, less than two weeks after Taiwan held presidential and legislative elections.

The press release also cited Diaz Balart as expressing concerns over what he called China’s interference in Taiwan’s elections and other forms of pressure exerted on the people of Taiwan.

He went on to say he looked forward to working with Taiwan’s government on various issues, including the double taxation on American and Taiwanese businesses and individuals.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Finance has long been seeking a double taxation relief agreement with the U.S. to protect their mutual interests amid an acceleration of economic exchanges and business activities.

Such endeavours have seen some progress on the U.S. side recently.

On Jan. 19, with bipartisan support, the US House Committee on Ways and Means advanced a bill addressing double taxation for American and Taiwanese businesses and individuals, sending it to the House for a full floor vote.

Bera, meanwhile, stressed that the congressional Taiwan Caucus, the largest caucus on Capitol Hill, represented the “steadfast support” of the American people for Taiwan.

The Democrat called out Beijing for its intrusive actions that he said had altered the status quo of the Taiwan Strait while urging democratic nations to stand in solidarity in the face of challenges posed by China.

In her remarks, Tsai, who is set to leave office in May after completing her two four-year terms, thanked both Diaz Balart and Bera for their staunch support for Taiwan.

She added that Taiwan would continue working to broaden its exchanges with the US and expand links with the international community.

The two lawmakers also conveyed the same messages during their earlier meeting with Lai, who is the incumbent vice president and expected to take office on May 20, according to the Presidential Office.

Lai, in return, reiterated his pledges to continue Tsai’s policies, which include striving to maintain the status quo of the Taiwan Strait and boosting Taiwan’s defense capability.

As per the Central News Agency Taiwan report the Tsai also met with a Lithuanian parliamentarian group led by Parliamentarian Matas Maldeikis at the Presidential Office on Thursday, during which both sides reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance bilateral ties based on their shared values of freedom and democracy.

The 11-member Lithuanian delegation features three deputy speakers, namely, Vytautas Mitalas, Radvile Morkunaite-Mikuleniene and Julius Sabatauskas, and other parliamentarians from different parties.

The delegation also met with Lai separately on Thursday as part of their six-day visit to Taiwan from Jan 21-26. (ANI)

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