On Wednesday, March 6th, Ambassador Stanley Kao of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (Republic of China, Taiwan’s De facto Embassy) hosted three members of Congress at the historic Twin Oaks estate in North West D.C. to celebrate the “Taiwan Relations Act @40 Kick-Off Reception.” After President Jimmy Carter’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with Mainland and cut off ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1979, the relationship between the American people and the People of Taiwan has been protected by the landmark Taiwan Relations Act signed into law on April 10, 1979 and the Six Assurances made by President Ronald Regan in the 1980s.
Throughout the past four decades, Taiwan has maintained a strong and robust unofficial relationship with the United States through the TRA. The most reliable support of Taiwan within the three branches of federal government comes from the Legislative Branch where the Congressional Taiwan Caucus and the Senate Taiwan Caucus are one of the largest caucuses by size in both houses of Congress. The support of Taiwan on Capitol Hill is bipartisan, the Co-Chairs of the Caucuses consists of both democrats and republicans. Last March, both chambers of Congress unanimously passed the Taiwan Travel Act, which allowed high ranking officials of Taiwan to visit the United States and vice versa.
The United States and Taiwan share the same set of common values of freedom and democracy, while the relationship between the two nations remains official, the bond between the two countries remains strong. Three of the Six Special Municipality Mayors of Taiwan has been or will be separately visiting the United States from March to May, meeting with members of Congress, delivering speeches in think tanks such as the Hudson Institute (Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-Tsan 3/4/19), the Heritage Foundation (Taipei Mayor Dr. Ko Wen-Je 3/20/19), and the Fairbank Center at Harvard University (Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu April 2019).
United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Ambassador Sam Brownback, is also visiting Taiwan to deliver the keynote remarks at the 2019 Regional Religious Freedom Forum: A Civil Society Dialogue on Securing Religious Freedom in the Indo-Pacific Region. The Forum is jointly organized by Taiwan’s Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and America’s American Institute in Taiwan (AIT, US’s De Facto Embassy in Taiwan) and the International Religious Freedom Roundtable. In addition to Ambassador Brownback’s address, President Tsai Ing-wen of ROC and AIT Director Brent Christensen are also set to deliver remarks in the Forum. The Forum comes timely as Mainland China has been persecuting its religious minorities. With the horrible atrocities in Xinjiang with Uyghurs in “reeducation camps,” continuous oppressing of the people of Tibet, and recent demolish of the World’s Largest Cliff-Carved Guanyin Statue.
As the Taiwan Relations Act marks its 40th Anniversary, the United States and Taiwan should continue to work together to advance the interest of the people of both nations. The unofficial relationship should be celebrated throughout the year to mark the momentous occasion.