The flags of Taiwan and the U.S. are placed for a meeting in March 27th, 2018 in Taipei, Taiwan. REUTERS Tyrone Siu File Photo
TAIPEI, Nov 26, Reuters - The leader of the U.S. congressional delegation to Taiwan praised the island as a force for good in the world during a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday and said under Tsai ties with the United States were more productive than in decades.
The five members of the U.S. House of Representatives arrived in Taiwan on Thursday night for a two-day trip, the second time in a month that U.S. lawmakers have visited.
Speaking with Tsai at her office, Mark Takano, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs and leader of the bipartisan delegation, said they were in the region to remind partners and allies that the shared responsibility to a free and secure Indo Pacific remained stronger than ever.
Madame President, I want to commend and praise your leadership. The bonds between us are more positive and productive under your administration than they have been for decades, said Takano, whose group was previously in Japan and South Korea.
Our commitment to Taiwan has been strong and has remained steadfast as the ties between us have deepened. Taiwan is a democratic success story, a reliable partner and a force for good in the world, he added.
The United States, like most countries, has no official ties with Taiwan, but is the most important international backer and arms supplier to Beijing's anger.
China has stepped up military and political pressure on Taiwan to accept its sovereignty claims. Tsai has vowed to maintain peace with China, but she will defend Taiwan if attacked.
She told the group that Taiwan will continue to work with the United States in order to uphold our shared values of freedom and democracy and to ensure peace and stability in the region, because of the regional situation you are paying attention to.
China's military conducted a combat readiness patrol in the direction of the Taiwan Strait earlier this month after its defense ministry condemned a visit to Taiwan by a U.S. congressional delegation it said had arrived on a military aircraft.