American Institute in Taiwan chairman James Moriarty, center, talks with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei on Tuesday. Photo: Handout
American Institute in Taiwan chairman James Moriarty, center, talks with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei on Tuesday. Photo: Handout

The US and Taiwan will hold joint events to mark the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act to highlight the island’s role in Washington’s new strategy for the Indo-Pacific and regional stability, American Institute in Taiwan chairman James Moriarty told Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during a meeting on Tuesday.

The chairman of the association, which acts as the United States’ de facto embassy in Taiwan, is on a week-long visit to the self-governed island.

The bill was enacted by the US Congress in 1979 after Washington cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan and chose instead to set up a new embassy in Beijing.

“The coming year will, I am sure, show to all why the US considers Taiwan to be a vital and reliable partner in Asia and a force for good in the world,” the island’s semi-official Central News Agency quoted Moriarty as saying.

Events are aimed at taking stock of a flourishing US-Taiwan relationship and a comprehensive, durable and mutually beneficial partnership, he said.

Moriarty also reaffirmed US support for finding ways to assist Taiwan “in not only preserving, but expanding its international space,” through programs like the Global Cooperation Training Framework, a scheme with funding from the US to encourage visits and exchanges between overseas scholars, academics and Taiwanese youngsters.

Tsai stressed that ensuring Taiwan’s security would be vital to maintaining Indo-Pacific security.

The residence of Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the US in Washington. The lawn features the Republic of China (Taiwan) emblem. Photo: Wikimedia

It has been reported that Tsai is considering plans to beef up Taiwan’s lobbying efforts in the US, in conjunction with celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, to make further pushes for more arms sales as well as transfers of defense technologies.

There is talk that she may dispatch Vice-President Chen Chien-jen and former president Lee Teng-hui, who is a Cornell University graduate, to the US to officiate at anniversary events and meet with US lawmakers and defense officials to lobby for more defense cooperation.

It is also said that Taiwanese diplomats posted in Washington have been in talks with some lobbying and public relations organizations in the US capital, though the island’s Foreign Ministry has denied such contacts.

Taiwan’s quasi-embassy in Washington, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, has also been in close liaison with the American Institute in Taiwan and the US congressional group on Taiwan to suggest new arms sales deals, plus defense-contractor cooperation, as well as new visits by US officials under the Taiwan Travel Act.

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