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Visiting U.S. lawmakers say current trip showcases support for Taiwan

01/25/2024 05:28 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen (right) greets U.S. Congressmen Ami Bera (left) and Mario Díaz Balart at the Presidential Office in Taipei Thursday. CNA photo Jan. 25, 2024
President Tsai Ing-wen (right) greets U.S. Congressmen Ami Bera (left) and Mario Díaz Balart at the Presidential Office in Taipei Thursday. CNA photo Jan. 25, 2024

Taipei, Jan. 25 (CNA) Two United States House of Representatives members told President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and President-elect Lai Ching-te (賴清德) on Thursday that their current visit to Taipei was meant to showcase bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress for Taiwan.

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

Díaz 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 Díaz 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.

U.S. Congressmen Ami Bera (right) and Mario Díaz Balart are pictured during their meeting with Vice President Lai Ching-te in Taipei Thursday. CNA photo Jan. 25, 2024
U.S. Congressmen Ami Bera (right) and Mario Díaz Balart are pictured during their meeting with Vice President Lai Ching-te in Taipei Thursday. CNA photo Jan. 25, 2024

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 endeavors have seen some progress on the U.S. side recently.

On Jan. 19, with bipartisan support, the U.S. 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 Díaz Balart and Bera for their staunch support for Taiwan.

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

Source: Presidential Office
Vice President Lai Ching-te (second right) and vice president-elect Hsiao Bi-khim (right) meet with U.S. Congressmen Ami Bera (left) and Mario Díaz Balart in Taipei Thursday. CNA photo Jan. 25, 2024
Vice President Lai Ching-te (second right) and vice president-elect Hsiao Bi-khim (right) meet with U.S. Congressmen Ami Bera (left) and Mario Díaz Balart in Taipei Thursday. CNA photo Jan. 25, 2024

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.

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, Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė 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.

(By Teng Pei-ju)

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Source: Presidential Office
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