TAIPEI (CNA) – Former United States House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan yesterday praised Taiwan as a reliable partner to the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region and expressed hope that the rest of the world could “be more like Taiwan.” Speaking at a reception in Taipei to mark the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), Ryan said America’s overall strategy is to ensure that freedom and openness flourish in the Indo-Pacific region.
“In this endeavor, we couldn’t ask for a better friend than Taiwan. Taiwan is a democratic success story, a reliable partner, and a force for good in the world,” said Ryan, who led an American delegation to Taiwan to attend events for the anniversary.
“America will always believe that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people, and for that matter, for all people wherever they call home,” Ryan said, quoting in part a speech by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence last October.
Washington wants the Indo-Pacific region “to be free, open, prosperous, and innovative,” he said.
“We want the rest of the world to partner with us in solving global problems. In other words, we want the rest of the world to be more like Taiwan.” He praised Taiwan for actively sharing its experiences “not only to help others, but to help others help themselves,” adding that the world desperately needs more of Taiwan’s brand of leadership.
Taiwan’s leadership reflects the shared values and common embrace of democracy, free markets, rule of law, religious freedom and human rights, and the importance of bilateral relations, which stems from U.S. commitments as stated in the TRA, Ryan said.
He said he was honored to be in Taiwan to mark this milestone in the U.S.-Taiwan relationship, which is expected to continue to deepen in years to come.
Ryan made his address during a reception held at the new American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) compound in Neihu, which was joined by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), and several incumbent and former Taiwanese officials.
The AIT was launched in 1979 to serve as the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties.
Recently the AIT announced it will officially move into its new compound in Neihu on May 6 after operating out of its office on Xinyi Rd. for nearly 40 years.
In her address, President Tsai said the new compound is a monument to the two countries’ joint achievements and shared values over the past 40 years.
“So on this special day, let’s pledge to bring this enduring partnership to the next level. Let’s turn Taiwan into a regional hub that connects Asia and the rest of the world, so that the beacon of democracy can bring the light of hope to people longing to be free,” she noted.
She also expressed hope that Taiwan could be included in the U.S. pre-clearance program to bring Taiwanese people and their American counterparts closer.
The TRA was signed in April 1979 by then U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a few months after the U.S. switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
It was drafted to serve as a legal basis for unofficial relations between the U.S. and Taiwan and enshrine into law the U.S.’s commitment to helping Taiwan maintain its self-defense capability.
Ryan served as the 54th House of Representatives speaker from October 2015 to January 2019. He announced in April 2018 that he would not be seeking re-election, ending a 20-year run in Congress.
His delegation to attend the TRA anniversary events in Taipei also includes AIT Chairman James Moriarty; Eddie Bernice Johnson, chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee; and House Representatives Don Bacon, Hank Johnson and Salud Carbajal.
Jane Nishida, principal deputy assistant administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and David Meale, deputy assistant secretary under the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, are also among the delegation.
By Joseph Yeh