2023-0223: Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Meets U.S. Officials Near Washington; Rep. Khanna Leads Delegation to Taiwan

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Meets U.S. High-Level Officials Near Washington

On February 21, Taiwan and the United States held an all-day annual security dialogue at the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT) Washington headquarters attended by top-level officials from the two countries.

The meeting between Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and National Security Council Secretary-General Wellington Koo, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer went from around 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The Financial Times described it as part of an annual “special diplomatic dialogue” between senior Taiwanese and U.S. officials.

Despite the secrecy surrounding the meeting, Wu and Koo waved hands to gathered reporters outside the AIT headquarters in Arlington, Virginia upon their arrival there at around 9:30 a.m., accompanied by Taiwan’s Representative to the U.S. Bi-khim Hsiao.

None of them spoke publicly before or after the meeting.

The AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties. Its headquarters are based in the U.S., with branch offices in Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan.

Other participants in the meeting included U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink, Deputy Assistant Secretary for China and Taiwan Rick Waters, and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China Michael Chase, National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for China and Taiwan Laura Rosenberger, NSC’s Director for China Rush Doshi, and AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk also attended the meeting.

In terms of the venue, this meeting was held in the vicinity of Washington D.C., while previous editions of such meetings took place further from the U.S. capital, Vincent Chao, who served as political director at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the U.S. from 2019-2021, said.

The visit to Washington by Taiwan’s sitting foreign minister marked the beginning of a new era in Taiwan-U.S. relations, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chao Tien-lin said. Wu’s visit was made possible by the U.S.’ 2018 “Taiwan Travel Act” and sets a precedent, he added.

The meeting sent the message that Taiwan-U.S. relations are becoming normalized and the process is irreversible, independent Legislator Freddy Lim said, adding that the strength of the relationship would help protect both nations’ interests.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202302220005
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/02/23/2003794877
[3] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202302220026

Visiting U.S. Lawmakers Meet with President Tsai

Taiwan plans to boost military exchanges with the U.S. to curb authoritarian expansionism, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said on February 21, after meeting with a bipartisan U.S. Congressional delegation led by Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA).

“Taiwan and the United States continue to bolster military exchanges,” Tsai said after meeting with the delegation at the Presidential Office in Taipei. “Going forward, Taiwan will cooperate even more actively with the United States and other democratic partners to confront such global challenges as authoritarian expansionism and climate change.”

It is time “to explore even more opportunities for cooperation” between the U.S. and Taiwan, Tsai said, adding that “[together] we can continue to safeguard the values of democracy and freedom.”

Rep. Khanna, a member of the newly created U.S. House “Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party,” said he was leading the bipartisan delegation to expand “the partnership on military and defense” with Taiwan, and to shore up ties with the nation’s world-leading semiconductor industry.

Established last month in January, the select committee is tasked with investigating issues related to U.S.’ economic and security competition with China and making policy recommendations.

“We are here to affirm the shared values between the United States and Taiwan, a commitment to democracy, a commitment to freedom,” Khanna added.

Also in the delegation, which arrived in Taiwan on February 19 for a five-day visit, are U.S. Representatives Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) — a member of the select committee — Jonathan Jackson (D-IL) and Tony Gonzales (R-TX).

The delegation also met with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) founder Morris Chang and Taiwanese lawmakers across parties during their visit.

Meanwhile, a Taiwan government spokesperson on February 23 confirmed that U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI), chair of the House’s new Select Committee on China, also met with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President Lai Ching-te in Taipei last week.

The Taiwan government’s clarification comes after Gallagher disclosed details of the previously unannounced trip to Taiwan in an interview published in the Washington Post.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202302210018
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2023/02/22/2003794818
[3] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202302230005