A bipartisan delegation from the U.S. Congress expressed unwavering support for Taiwan during their visit on Thursday, marking the first visit by U.S. lawmakers to the island since the Democratic Progressive Party, leaning towards independence, secured a third consecutive term in the January 13 presidential election.
China, America’s primary global competitor, asserts sovereignty over Taiwan and has consistently threatened to use force to assert control over the self-governing island.
Beijing strongly criticized the election of Lai Ching-te and seems poised to maintain its stance of refusing to engage with Taiwan’s government, a policy in effect since Tsai Ing-wen’s election in 2016.
U.S. Representative Mario Díaz Balart, a Florida Republican, emphasized the steadfast and bipartisan support of the United States for Taiwan, stating, “The support of the United States for Taiwan is firm. It’s real, and it is 100% bipartisan.”
Joining him was California Democrat Ami Bera, who underscored the need for collaboration and peaceful coexistence in the 21st century, stating, “In the 21st century, there’s no place for aggressive action. We have to learn to live together, to trade together, to work together, to solve problems together.”
Balart expressed pride in the people of Taiwan and the strong relationship between the two nations, affirming that it will only strengthen in the future. Bera echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the commitment to working together to safeguard the peace, prosperity, and future of Taiwan.
President-elect Lai conveyed appreciation to the visiting co-chairs of the U.S. Congressional Taiwan Caucus, describing Taiwan as a global entity.
He outlined his plans to collaborate with Vice President-elect Hsiao Bi-khim to build on the foundation laid by President Tsai, emphasizing the goal of uniting the people of Taiwan, enhancing social resilience, and maintaining the cross-strait status quo of peace and stability.
Lai also touched on ongoing military assistance from the U.S. and a proposed agreement to prevent mutual taxation of companies.
Despite objections from Beijing to official U.S.-Taiwan contacts, President Joe Biden reiterated the continuation of the “One-China” policy, recognizing Beijing as representing China while maintaining informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.
The visit comes against the backdrop of China’s frequent military maneuvers near Taiwan, with President Biden emphasizing the U.S.’s commitment to ensuring Taiwan’s ability to defend itself, as mandated by U.S. law since formal diplomatic relations were severed in 1979. China’s persistent military actions and intimidation tactics further underscore the delicate geopolitical dynamics in the region.