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House speaker says U.S. stands with Taiwan in meeting with new envoy

01/10/2024 12:25 PM
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Taiwan's representative to the United States Alexander Yui (left) and House Speaker Mike Johnson. CNA photo Jan. 10, 2024
Taiwan's representative to the United States Alexander Yui (left) and House Speaker Mike Johnson. CNA photo Jan. 10, 2024

Washington, Jan. 9 (CNA) In his first official meeting with Taiwan's representative to the United States Alexander Yui (俞大㵢), House Speaker Mike Johnson said the U.S. stands with Taiwan.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Taiwanese people," Johnson told reporters as he welcomed Yui, Taiwan's new de facto ambassador to Washington, before a closed-door half-hour meeting on Tuesday.

It was the first public meeting between the two after Yui, a former envoy to the European Union and deputy foreign minister, took up the post in Washington D.C. in December.

The seasoned career diplomat filled the vacancy left by predecessor Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), who became the running mate of ruling Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Lai Ching-te (賴清德) in Taiwan's Jan. 13 presidential election.

Johnson, who supported Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, became speaker in late October after weeks of chaos in the Republican Party-led House, starting with the unceremonious dumping of previous Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

"We certainly want to help in the defense of Taiwan, which is very important. We want to deter the Chinese Communist Party and any military provocations," Johnson told the media.

The Republican congressman also said the U.S. Congress "stands with our friends and stands for democracy and the principles you all try to advance," adding that Washington and Taipei have an "important relationship and we all want to strengthen that."

Yui thanked Johnson for his and the U.S. Congress' longstanding bipartisan support for Taiwan, in particular for Washington's commitments to enhancing Taipei's security, safeguarding its democratic system and promoting a bilateral economic partnership.

Yui said robust Taiwan-U.S. relations are based on shared values such as freedom and democracy, and he was looking forward to "further strengthen[ing] our rock-solid friendship."

Following the half-hour closed-door meeting, Yui told Taiwanese reporters on Capitol Hill that his visit was a "courtesy call" and that the two sides exchanged views on a number of key issues.

Asked if Johnson asked about Taiwan's upcoming Jan. 13 presidential and legislative elections, Yu said only that the House speaker hoped that the elections would be held smoothly.

When asked by reporters if he extended an invitation to Johnson to visit Taiwan, Yu said he had not.

The envoy said Johnson assured him that he was a longtime friend of Taiwan and stressed the bipartisan support for Taiwan in the Congress.

(By Chiang Ching-yeh and Joseph Yeh)

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