Tsai thanks US senators for supporting TRA, defensive arms sales

President Tsai Ing-wen expressed gratitude to U.S. senators for their support for the Taiwan Relations Act and continued U.S. defensive arms sales to Taiwan June 26 on her official Twitter account.

In the president's tweet, she shared a bipartisan letter written June 23 by eight U.S. senators to U.S. President Donald Trump urging the White House to adopt a policy of regular and consistent support for Taiwan's self-defense efforts. The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Benjamin Cardin, John Cornyn, James Inhofe, Edward Markey, John McCain, Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden, many of whom have voiced support for expanding Taiwan-U.S. ties in the past.

Describing Taiwan as a vibrant democracy, an important economic partner, and a loyal friend, the letter said that after President Tsai took office in May last year, mainland China's intensified economic coercion and military intimidation tactics have stoked cross-strait tensions, threatening peace and stability in the region. Given these circumstances, our support for Taiwan is more important than ever, it added.

The U.S. Congress has on numerous occasions reaffirmed the TRA, which remains in force and enjoys unwavering bipartisan commitment, the letter said. It continued by stating that the U.S. has maintained a policy of robust support for Taiwan's self-defense capabilities for almost four decades.

On many occasions, Tsai has reiterated that both Taiwan and the U.S. share the common goals of maintaining cross-strait stability. When she met with a delegation led by U.S. Senator Cory Gardner last month, the president said that sales of U.S. defensive weaponry to Taiwan have helped maintain cross-strait peace and regional stability, and are in the best interests of both nations as well as other like-minded countries.

In the senators' letter, the Trump administration was urged to send Congress notifications for pending arms sales to Taiwan. The senior lawmakers also requested an end to the bundling of arms packages, a practice put into place in 2008 to reduce tensions with Beijing that does not serve the U.S. or Taiwan's interests.

Stating that Taiwan has significant and legitimate future defense requirements such as replacement fighters, new submarines, new missile defense and electronic warfare capabilities as well as the need for cybersecurity support, the letter urged the administration to address these requirements as well as engage in robust exchanges with the nation. It concluded that the TRA calls for regular consultation between the executive and legislative branches on Taiwan arms procurement issues.

Signed into law in 1979 after the U.S. switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing, the TRA authorizes the continuation of substantive relations between the people of the U.S. and the people of Taiwan.

Source: Taiwan Today