(As Prepared for Delivery)
On behalf of the delegation, thank you Madame President for welcoming us to Taiwan and hosting us. I am honored to be joined on this visit to Taiwan by two seasoned foreign policy hands with particular knowledge and experience in Taiwan-U.S. relations — Richard Armitage, who served as Deputy Secretary of State in the George W. Bush administration, and Jim Steinberg, who also served as Deputy Secretary of State in the Obama administration.
First, Madame President, let me express our condolences as the delegation for the tragic loss of life in the train accident near Hualien. We share Taiwan’s grief for the many lives cut short by this tragedy. I was especially touched by the untimely deaths of two young American teachers, here in Taiwan to enrich their friendship and understanding between our two peoples.
President Tsai, I consider myself a longtime friend of Taiwan, as I know Rich and Jim do as well. This year, we mark the 42nd anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). I was actually one of the floor managers in the House of Representatives for the Act in 1979, which means it was my job to help generate support among my congressional colleagues for this very critical piece of legislation. The significance of the TRA becomes even more evident with each passing year and I can say with confidence that the U.S. partnership with Taiwan is stronger than ever. We share deep economic ties, a mutual commitment to democratic values, and a critically important security partnership.
We are here today as a bipartisan delegation, and I appreciate your words, Madame President, about the bipartisan nature of our delegation at the request of my longstanding friend, President Joe Biden, to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to this partnership and to deepening our cooperation on the multitude of interests that we share in common. As you have so effectively demonstrated over the past year, there are many areas in which “Taiwan can help,” — in fact, Taiwan is helping — and we look forward to working with Taiwan to advance our shared values, prosperity and security.
Of course, there are many ways which the United States can be helpful, as well. You will find the Biden administration to be a reliable, trusted friend. I am confident this administration will help you expand your international space and support your investments in self-defense. The Biden administration will also seek further deepening of our already robust economic ties. And I was pleased that just last week the State Department issued the updated contact guidance that explicitly and enthusiastically encourages U.S. government officials to interact with their Taiwan counterparts and conduct reciprocal visits as well.
Again, Madame President, we thank you for the invitation and hosting us, and now I would like to turn over to the other members of the delegation to say a few words as well.