Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday met with a US bipartisan congressional delegation in Taipei led by Rep. Ro Khanna (R-CA) and told the American lawmakers that Taiwan is boosting military exchanges with the US.
“Taiwan and the United States continue to bolster military exchanges, and going forward Taiwan will cooperate even more actively with the United States and other democratic partners to confront such global challenges as authoritarian expansionism and climate change,” Tsai told the delegation.
Since Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 to open up with Beijing, the US maintained some quiet military cooperation with Taiwan and continued to sell arms to the island. But in recent years, that cooperation has expanded and become more public.
Tsai’s comments came after a report from Nikkei Asia revealed that the US has expanded its training of Taiwan’s military with US National Guard troops, a program that started before the spring of 2022. The 2023 National Defense Authorization Act that President Biden signed into law in December called for more military cooperation with Taiwan and included unprecedented military aid. China responded to the NDAA by launching major military exercises around Taiwan.
While meeting with Tsai, Khanna said the purpose of the visit was to strengthen economic and military ties with Taiwan. ” We come here to strengthen the economic relationship, representing Silicon Valley … and also, of course, the partnership on military and defense,” he said.
Khanna, a member of a new House panel on China, previously said he would focus on learning about Taiwan’s semiconductor industry and insisted the trip wasn’t a provocation. But congressional delegations to Taiwan anger China as they view US government officials visiting the island as a challenge to the one-China policy. Other members of the delegation include Reps. Tony Gonzales (R-TX), Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), and Jonathan Jackson (D-IL).