John Bolton plans Taiwan trip after pandemic subsides

Former US National Security Adviser hopes to visit Taiwan, meet with President Tsai

John Bolton

John Bolton (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In an interview with CNA, former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton on Wednesday (July 1) stated that he hoped to visit Taiwan once the pandemic subsides.

Bolton said he looked forward to meeting President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and his friends who he has known for many years as well as listening to the ideas and thoughts of the Taiwanese people and contemplating the way forward for the nation, CNA reported.

He mentioned that in different capacities he has visited Taiwan many times before, having met with previous Taiwanese presidents. In 1999, he met with President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).

In 2007, he visited President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). During President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) administration, Bolton made calls to the presidential office in 2009, 2012, and 2014.

He confided that he had planned to visit Taiwan in March or April this year to meet with President Tsai and other political leaders and to deal with personal business matters, but the trip was canceled because of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

Bolton pointed out that under Trump's leadership, he is worried that many people may think the U.S. is no longer as strong as it used to be and is not as devoted to its commitments around the world, especially in East Asia.

If Washington diplomatically recognizes Taipei, he remarked, other countries will follow suit. This type of bold move will demonstrate strong leadership, which is very important to the U.S., Bolton said.

The former National Security Adviser recently published a book entitled "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir," in which he reveals that Chinese President Xi Jinping had asked U.S. President Trump during the Osaka G20 summit to disallow President Tsai to visit the U.S. and stop arms sales to Taiwan.

As to whether he plans to release a Chinese version of the new book in Taiwan, Bolton said that as far as he knows, he is still figuring out if there is any interest.

Bolton expressed that he hopes his new book will be sold abroad because its purpose is not only to let the American people know how decisions are made within the Trump administration but also to let people around the world. "I think it's beneficial for people to understand this," he stated.

Bolton was appointed National Security Advisor by the Trump administration in April 2018, but he resigned in September 2019.