Taipei, May 20 (CNA) A U.S. Congressional delegation, led by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, arrived in Taiwan Sunday to discuss bilateral ties and congratulate President Ma Ying-jeou beginning a second term in office.
"I'd like to formally congratulate President Ma on his inauguration for a second term," Ros-Lehtinen said at a news conference held upon the arrival of the 21-member group in Taipei, on the day of Ma's inauguration.
Ros-Lehtinen, of the Republican party, said the bipartisan delegation is also here to discuss issues concerning the rise of China on the world stage, how to advance Taiwan-U.S. trade relations and how to best preserve Taiwan as what she described as "a beacon of democracy."
For decades, Taipei and Washington have forged a strong partnership, Ros-Lehtinen said, adding that both sides cooperate closely in areas of economy, foreign policy and, most especially, security matters.
"An old proverb about Taiwan states that a good friend shields you from the storm," Ros-Lehtinen said. "We, from the U.S. Congress, are here to assure you that America is such a friend to Taiwan."
During their three-day visit, the group is scheduled to call on Ma, Vice President Wu Den-yih, Premier Sean Chen and officials from the ministries of national defense, foreign affairs, economic affairs and the Mainland Affairs Council.
The delegation will also meet officials from the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party.
(By Elaine Hou)