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US delegation specializing in military affairs visits Taiwan

The U.S. will give support for Taiwan in terms of enhancing defense capability, says a U.S. official

U.S. Senator James Inhofe (left) and Taiwan's Foreign Minster David Lee

U.S. Senator James Inhofe (left) and Taiwan's Foreign Minster David Lee (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A delegation from the U.S. Senate and House Committee on Armed Services visited Taiwan on February 20.

Even though it is almost certain that the visit would be centered around the discussion of a new round of American armaments and military equipment sales to Taiwan, the delegation, led by Republican Senator James Inhofe, made no mention of what specific items were being discussed on the negotiation table when speaking to the Taiwanese media on Wednesday.

Referring to Taiwan’s need of military purchases from the U.S., Inhofe, having co-chaired the Senate Taiwan Caucus, a bi-partisan group established in 2003, for over a decade, assured that Taiwan would “have our fullest cooperation.”

“We have a lot of manufacturers that really want to deal with Taiwan,” said Inhofe, adding that the U.S. government would give full support in terms of enhancing Taiwan’s defense capability that benefits both countries.

“We are arguably your best partner and you’re our best partner, too,” added Inhofe.

Republican Senator Michael Rounds also weighed in and said in terms of the U.S. military cooperation and relationship with countries in the region, “we want to be able to train and work with our allies.”

The delegation said apart from discussing military affairs with government leaders in Taiwan, it would also be looking to trade and economic cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan, particularly in fields such as energy and grain products.

Before giving a brief interview at the Taipei Guest House, a government property that is rarely opened except for important guests or events, the delegation met with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in the morning. The president said she looked forward to seeing closer ties between the two countries in 2018.

President Tsai said Taiwan and the U.S. should work to preserve the shared interests and values in response to the changing dynamics in the world.

Given that the two countries had reaped a harvest through working together over the years, especially in U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, mutual trade, and Taiwan’s participation in the international community, the Taiwanese government would continue seeking cooperation with the U.S., added the president.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the delegation of 19, including senators, a congressman, and aides, will stay in Taiwan until February 22 for exchanges about Taiwan-U.S. affairs and the issue of regional security.