The United States’ Taiwan Relations Act is 40 years old. Celebrating its anniversary on April 10, the White House reinforced its commitment to Taiwan.
Lawmakers, including 27 members of Congress across the aisle, attended the reception. Many U.S. officials, including senior officials from the White House National Security Council, the State Department, and the Department of Defense also joined this reception.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Nancy Pelosi said the occasion was “a wonderful bipartisan bicameral manifestation of support and recognition of the importance of the Taiwan Relations Act.”
Hon. Bob Menendez said, “it is up to the Taiwanese people to determine their own future, however they see fit.” The ranking member of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations said the Taiwan Relations Act was “a clear and decisive statement.”
Speakers also emphasized the need for support from external powers. “As a starting point, the international community must stand together to support Taiwan’s resumed participation in the World Health Organization,” said Hon. Michael McCaul, House Foreign Affairs Committee senior member.
Representative Hon. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) said he thinks it’s important for Taiwan to know that the United States will be there for them. “We are now,” he said, “and we need to make sure the PRC [People’s Republic of China] knows that they need to behave themselves too.”
In addition to celebrating the Taiwan Relations Act, this event recognized two more developments in the U.S.-Taiwan alliance.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jim Risch presented Taiwanese Ambassador Stanley Gao with a special gift: a copy of the resolution passed by the Senate at the end of April, called “Reaffirming the United States commitment to Taiwan and to the implementation of the Taiwan Relations Act.”
On May 7, the House of Representatives also passed the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019. The bill states that Taiwan is an important part of U.S. strategy in the region and urges the United States to conduct regular transfers of defense articles to enhance Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent his regards ahead of the occasion. Speaking on his behalf, Kevin Moley, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs told the congregation, “Let me bring the congratulations on the 40th anniversary and best wishes from our Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.”
And from the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of State attended the ceremony in his first week in the role. “It’s my third day on the job and I would not miss being here on this august anniversary for our enduring partnership with Taiwan. I’m glad to be here, and as I said, my presence here signifies that relationship, and I am very, very proud to be here today.”