U.S. congressman Ed Royce lauds Taiwan’s democracy prior to visit

FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2017, file photo, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., presides over a markup of a bill to expand sanctions against Iran with respect to its ballistic missile program, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Royce says he will not seek re-election after serving out his 13th term. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Ontario, California, March 25 (CNA) United States Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, lauded Taiwan’s democracy Sunday, saying the fact Taiwan and the U.S. share the same democratic values is the reason the Taiwan Travel Act passed the U.S. Congress.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed the non-binding Sense of Congress Resolution into law on March 17, which urges the U.S. government to promote high-level meetings between Taiwan and U.S. officials, despite there being no diplomatic links between the two countries.

Taiwan’s devotion to establishing a democratic system that allows its people to enjoy human rights and the rule of law is the reason the House committee he leads passed the act and why it is so important, Royce said at Ontario International Airport Sunday.

That same day Royce and his wife Marie Royce, an assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, took China Airlines’ inaugural direct flight between Taipei and Ontario in California to Taiwan.

In addition to the Taiwan Travel Act, Royce also played a key role in making the Taipei-Ontario non-stop flight service possible.

Royce said he looks forward to the new route promoting economic development in the San Gabriel Valley and North Orange County in South California by creating business opportunities and jobs.

Royce announced his retirement in January after 26 years in the House of Representatives, making this his sixth and last visit to Taiwan as a U.S. congressman.

Although Royce will not run in the midterm elections in November his aide Young Kim, a former GOP state representative of California, has thrown her hat in the ring to replace him.

Royce said he is excited about Kim’s decision to run, touting her as caring about Taiwan and being very familiar with the Taiwan Relations Act, which has served as the foundation of U.S.-Taiwan relations since it came into force in 1979.

(By Edward Tsao and Elizabeth Hsu)