TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Six members of Congress on Wednesday (June 26) signed a letter calling on Vice President Kamala Harris to meet with Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) during his transit stops through the U.S. next month.
Lai will be transiting though the U.S. on his way to visit diplomatic ally Paraguay in August. Lai, who is also the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) presidential candidate, will attend the inauguration of Paraguayan president-elect Santiago Pena on August 15.
Six U.S. House representatives led by Tom Tiffany composed a letter calling on Harris to meet with Lai when he transits in the U.S. They pointed out that as a senator in 2018, Harris voted in favor of the Taiwan Travel Act, which makes it U.S. policy to encourage high-ranking White House officials to travel to Taiwan and meet with their Taiwanese counterparts.
They said in recent months, "Chinese authorities have redoubled their reckless efforts to provoke a conflict in the Taiwan Strait and continue to engage in 'dollar diplomacy' as part of a relentless campaign to restrict Taiwan's international space."
The representatives emphasized that a meeting between Harris and Lai would "underscore the importance America affixes to the U.S.-Taiwan friendship and make it clear that Beijing’s meddling in American foreign policy is unwelcome." They added that this gesture would help fortify Taiwan's ties with its remaining diplomatic allies and show that the Biden administration "will not cower in the face of increasing Chinese belligerence and bullying."
In addition to Tiffany, the letter was also signed by Andrew Ogles, Byron Donalds, Earl L. "Buddy" Carter, Scott Perry, and Scott DesJarlais.
Harris and Lai met for the first time publicly on Jan. 27, 2022, during the inauguration of Honduras President Xiomara Castro before Honduras severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
Letter six members of Congress sent to Harris calling on her to meet with Lai. (Tom Tiffany office screenshot)