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Tsai receives U.S. delegation, commits to regional peace efforts

ROC Central News Agency

04/15/2021 04:09 PM

Taipei, April 15 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Thursday received an American delegation, led by former Senator Chris Dodd, at the Presidential Office, and she reiterated Taiwan's willingness to work with the United States to preserve peace and stability in the region.

Dodd and former U.S. deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg, who arrived in Taipei on Wednesday, were the first delegation sent to Taiwan by U.S. President Joe Biden since he took office in January.

The visit comes as tensions continue to rise in the region, with Beijing stepping up its aggressive military maneuvers near Taiwan, and amid a growing power struggle between the U.S. and China.

"China has frequently dispatched military vessels and aircraft to carry out maneuvers in the waters and airspace surrounding Taiwan," Tsai told the U.S. delegation. "These actions alter the status quo in the Indo-Pacific and threaten regional peace and stability."

"We are very willing to work with like-minded countries, including the U.S., to jointly safeguard the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific and deter adventurous maneuvers and provocations," she said.

The president also said that Taiwan is willing to share with the international community its experience in combating disinformation campaigns, as the world is becoming increasingly concerned about cognitive warfare.

The current visit by the American delegation highlights the deepening of the Taiwan-U.S. partnership, Tsai said, noting that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has publicly confirmed the U.S.' "rock solid" support for Taiwan several times.

Turning to economic matters, Tsai said Taiwan continues to serve as a reliable partner to the U.S., especially in the areas of supply chain security and 5G technology and infrastructure. She also said Taiwan looks forward to resuming talks under the U.S.-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) mechanism and is committed to working with the U.S. on issues relating to climate change.

Meanwhile, Dodd expressed condolences on behalf his delegation over the death of 49 people, including two American teachers, in a train accident in eastern Taiwan on April 2.

The former senator, who played an important role in the passage of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act that requires the U.S. to help Taiwan maintain adequate self-defense capability, said its significance becomes "even more evident with each passing year."

He said his bipartisan delegation was formed at the request of Biden to reaffirm the U.S.' commitment to its partnership with Taiwan, which is "stronger than ever."

"You will find the Biden administration, Madam President, to be a reliable, trusted friend," Dodd said. "And I'm confident this administration will help you expand your international space and support your investments in self-defense."

Armitage, for his part, said the Biden administration supports Taiwan because of its "great democracy" and not because the U.S. is trying to annoy China.

In Steinberg's remarks, he lauded Taiwan's performance in controlling the COVID-19 outbreak, which he said showed that a democracy can provide strong and effective governance for the benefit for the world.

The delegation is scheduled to meet with Taiwan Cabinet members, defense officials and legislators later in the day and will wrap up its visit on Friday.

Shortly after Dodd's delegation landed in Taipei on Wednesday, China's Maritime Safety Administration announced that a live-fire military exercise would begin Thursday in waters off Taiwan's south-west coast and would last for six days.

According to Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as of April 12, Beijing had made 249 military sorties into the airspace near Taiwan on 74 days in this year, with many of the aircraft being fighter jets.

(By Emerson Lim)


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