Pompeo voices support for Taiwan on TRA anniversary

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sits down to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, during a hearing to review the FY 2020 State Department budget request. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (CNA) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and three Congress members voiced support for Taiwan on April 10, the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).

Questioned during a hearing on the State Department’s budget that same day, Pompeo said he plans to fully adhere to the TRA, signed into law April 10, 1979, the Taiwan Travel Act and the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, both passed in 2018, to strengthen the U.S. partnership with Taiwan.

“We have a lot going on with AIT (the American Institute in Taiwan) with our senators there,” Pompeo said when asked if high-level U.S. officials will visit Taiwan in the near future to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the nation.

Cory Gardner, chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Subcommittee said during the hearing that the TRA and the Six Assurances, agreed to by U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1982, the Taiwan Travel Act and the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, have become cornerstones of U.S. relations with Taiwan.

In addition, the Colorado Republican said in an interview after the hearing that he believes Taiwan “has more bipartisan support than probably any country right now, any other place around the world.”

“I think it’s incredibly important that we continue to support the Taiwan Relations Act, today being the 40th anniversary, and we have a resolution in Congress to celebrate that recognition.”

Following in the footsteps of the House of Representatives, a group of U.S. senators introduced April 4 a concurrent resolution reaffirming U.S. commitment to Taiwan to mark the 40th anniversary of the TRA.

Echoing Gardner, Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) said that same day that the United States has made it clear that “we protect the rights of the Taiwanese people.” “We raised that to the highest levels, so I think we have been straightforward and transparent about our concerns for the security of Taiwan,” he said.

Asked what kind of role he would like to see Taiwan play in the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy, the two-term Maryland Democrat said: “Taiwan should be a partner.”

Meanwhile, in an article titled “Four Decades of the Taiwan Relations Act Remains a Monument to our Resolve to Uphold Democracy” on the U.S. political website The Hill, U.S. Representative Steve Chabot said it is essential that the U.S. continue to strengthen the bilateral relationship with Taiwan.

Chabot noted that U.S. support for Taiwan is becoming increasingly urgent, saying that “while the Communist Party of China has always sought to impose its view that Taiwan is a renegade province on the rest of the world, President Xi Jinping is now taking a more aggressive stance.”

“If we are too scared of what President Xi might say, or of what Beijing might do, all our rhetoric about a free and open Indo-Pacific is nothing more than hot air, and China has already won,” the long-time supporter of Taiwan wrote.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the TRA, former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan will lead a delegation to Taiwan to attend a series of celebrations, according to AIT.

By Chiang Chin-yeh and Chung Yu-chen