US lawmaker praises 'rock-solid' partnership in visit to Taiwan

US lawmaker praises ‘rock-solid’ partnership in visit to Taiwan

/ 02:46 PM February 22, 2024

US lawmaker praises 'rock-solid' partnership in visit to Taiwan

U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) walks to a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 7, 2023. REUTERS FILE PHOTO

TAIPEI — US Representative Mike Gallagher, who chairs the House of Representatives select committee on China, told Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in a visit to Taipei on Thursday that the trip was to show bipartisan support for Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

Gallagher, who arrived in Taiwan on Thursday with a delegation of four other lawmakers on a visit ending Saturday, has been a strong friend of Taiwan and a fierce critic of China, which has ramped up military and political pressure to force the democratic island to accept its sovereignty.


“Today we come, as Democrats and Republicans, to show our bipartisan support for this partnership, which thanks to your leadership is stronger and more rock-solid than ever,” Gallagher told Tsai in the presidential office in a meeting broadcast live online.


READ: Former US official says commitment to Taiwan ‘rock solid’

“Today, freedom is under attack from authoritarian aggression and we need to be more vigilant than ever if we want to pass on this gift of freedom we have been given to the next generation,” he said, calling Tsai “a leader within the free world”.

China views democratically governed Taiwan as its territory. The government in Taipei rejects that position, saying only the island’s people can decide their future.

Beijing routinely denounces visits by foreign lawmakers to Taiwan, believing it seeks to stoke tensions and interferes in China’s affairs.

Taiwan says it can invite whomever it wants and that China has no right to speak for Taiwan’s people.

In the meeting, Tsai thanked the U.S. government and parliament for continuing to help Taiwan strengthen its defenses and said she hoped to see more Taiwan-U.S. exchanges this year.


In a separate meeting, Vice President Lai Ching-te, who won election as Taiwan’s next president last month and will take office on May 20, said that facing great pressure from China Taiwan will continue to enhance its self defense.

In response, Gallagher said the United States will deepen partnership with Taiwan as Lai assumes presidency and that if China attempts to invade Taiwan the effort would fail.

READ: US lawmakers arrive for Taiwan visit

In December, Gallagher’s committee issued an extensive list of bipartisan recommendations to reset U.S. economic ties with China, setting out legislative goals for 2024 that it said would prevent the U.S. from becoming the “economic vassal” of its chief geopolitical rival.

Gallagher said this month he will not run for re-election.

Gallagher, a member of both the House Armed Services and intelligence committees, has spent much of his time this year chairing the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, a bipartisan panel charged with investigating U.S. relations with China and developing strategies to improve the country’s ability to compete with China.

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Taiwan’s defense ministry said on Thursday the U.S. government has issued a notice for a $75 million arms sales to help Taiwan upgrade its Link-16 communications systems, which the ministry said will help coordinate its combat forces.

TAGS: China, Diplomacy, Taiwan, USA

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