Taiwanese vice president-elect meets with US Speaker Pelosi, national security advisor in Washington

William Lai the highest profile Taiwanese official to visit the National Security Council in four decades


(Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Vice President-elect William Lai (賴清德) on Wednesday (Feb. 5) met with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other high-ranking government officials as his trip to Washington, DC draws to a close.

Lai last visited the U.S. last fall to drum up support for President Tsai Ing-wen's reelection bid among overseas Taiwanese communities. This time around, the former premier has been exchanging views with lawmakers, policy advisers, and members of the think tanks in the nation's capital.

During the first two days of his trip, Lai met with pro-Taiwan Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jim Risch (R-ID), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Cory Gardner (R-CO).

On Tuesday, he delivered a speech at the inaugural meeting of the Religious Freedom Roundtable, where he was introduced by Sam Brownback, ambassador-at-large for religious freedom. Lai exolled the value his country places on freedom of religion and praised American missionaries for their contributions to Taiwanese society over the years.

Lai also spoke at a Senate office building on Capitol Hill, where some 300 people from more than 20 countries were in attendance.

He visited the National Security Council on Wednesday (Feb. 5), marking the highest profile visit by a Taiwanese figure since the U.S. officially broke ties with Taiwan in 1971. According to sources with knowledge of the visit, Trump's national security advisor, Robert O'Brien, was among the officials Lai conferred with there.

Accompanied by former Taiwanese legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), Lai met with Nancy Pelosi at 3:30 p.m. and Senator John Cornyn on Wednesday before attending the National Prayer Breakfast. During the exchange, Pelosi expressed her continuing support for the island nation.