Taipei, Oct. 10 (CNA) American Senator Ted Cruz on Thursday attended Taiwan's Double Ten National Day celebrations in Taipei and later met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for one-on-one discussions.
In the meeting at the Presidential Office, Cruz said Taiwan is "a powerful demonstration that freedom works," and that is why "the Communist government in China fears so deeply Taiwan's success."
Cruz, a Republican from Texas who sits on the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, said the ongoing protests in Hong Kong highlighted the value of freedom of democracy.
"At this time, when the eyes of the world are focused on Hong Kong and the brutal repression of Hong Kong, the stakes of fighting for democracy and fighting for freedom are that much more important, and that is what Taiwan rightly symbolizes for the world," Cruz said.
The relationship between Taiwan and the U.S. is important from a military, diplomatic, and economic standpoint, he said, adding that he hopes the two sides will soon sign a free trade agreement.
In turn, Tsai thanked Cruz for his strong support of Taiwan in the Senate, which she said had resulted in issues important to Taiwan being included in the annual U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) over the past few years.
Specifically, this year's NDAA reaffirmed the Taiwan Relations Act and Six Assurances as the cornerstone of the Taiwan-U.S. relationship and also allowed for expanded exchanges to boost Taiwan's self-defense capabilities, Tsai said.
Cruz arrived in Taiwan Thursday morning on a two-day visit to attend the National Day activities, becoming the first sitting U.S. senator in 35 years to participate in the celebrations, according to Tsai.
He was also scheduled to meet with government officials to discuss Taiwan-U.S. relations and regional geopolitical issues, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.