US deeply troubled by China's pressure on Taiwan: AIT chairman

AIT Chairman Moriarty says US will work to expand Taiwan’s international space, maintain close security cooperation

AIT Chairman James Moriarty and President Tsai Ing-wen (Presidential Office photo)

AIT Chairman James Moriarty and President Tsai Ing-wen (Presidential Office photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), James Moriarty, has expressed concern over Beijing’s continual pressure on Taiwan in various spheres, saying that the U.S. intends to work with Taiwan to expand its international participation.

The chairman is on his seventh trip to Taiwan, which will last from Oct. 14-19, since taking office in 2016. Accompanied by officials from AIT’s U.S. headquarters and Taipei office, Moriarty met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the Presidential Office on Wednesday (Oct. 16).

Taiwan’s security is central to the security of the Indo-Pacific region, and the U.S. government continues to have an abiding interest in cross-strait peace and stability, remarked Moriarty. “The U.S. is deeply troubled by the unrelenting political, economic, and military pressure that the PRC is asserting on Taiwan,” he said.

“The United States opposes the unilateral attempt to alter the status quo because that undermines the regional framework that has enabled peace, stability, and development for decades,” said the chairman. Echoing Tsai’s National Day ceremony speech in which she warned that Taiwan is facing a challenge from the expansion of an authoritarian influence in the region, Moriarty said the island’s free and democratic way of life must be sustained.

“Americans recognize Taiwan’s transformation from an island ruled by martial law to a beacon democracy is one of the greatest achievements of our era,” said Moriarty. He added that the U.S. intends to work to “expand Taiwan’s international space, build our economic and people-to-people ties, and maintain close security cooperation.”

“As a responsible member of the international community, Taiwan will never give up on our international participation in the face of China’s suppression,” said Tsai. She added that the island nation will continue working closely with the U.S. and countries sharing similar values to contribute to peace, stability, and well-being in the Indo-Pacific region.

Noting that relations between Taiwan and the U.S. are at their best in decades, Tsai expressed hope that the economic and trade ties between the two countries can elevate to the next level. “We hope to begin the negotiations for the signing of a bilateral trade agreement as soon as possible,” said Tsai, adding “so that we can further bolster our bilateral trade.”