Taiwan sees US support unchanged no matter who wins election

By Thomson Reuters Mar 27, 2024 | 9:45 PM

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s foreign ministry said on Thursday it believes U.S. support will remain unchanged no matter who wins the presidential election, but it will stay on guard for Taiwan-China issues being “manipulated” as the campaign heats up.

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, received strong backing from the Trump administration, including high-profile visits and arms sales, which have continued under the government of President Joe Biden.

In a report to lawmakers, Taiwan’s foreign ministry noted that even though the U.S. election’s outcome was not certain, there was cross-party support for the island.

Taiwan will continue to have balanced exchanges with both parties, but needs to be on guard for how Taiwan-China issues may feature in the election, the ministry added.

“As the U.S. election heats up, we should beware of cross-Taiwan Strait issues being manipulated as a political issue of defence and attack,” it said, without elaborating.

Meeting Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei on Thursday, U.S. Congressman Jack Bergman, a Republican who sits on the House Armed Services Committee and chairs its Intelligence and Special Operations Subcommittee, said his delegation was there to show Congress’ continued support for Taiwan.

“We will continue to assure our colleagues that this strategic relationship is key for the future security of the region,” Bergman said.

“This includes a strong Taiwan maritime strategy and how we can work together on shared goals to counter China on their increasingly aggressive actions in the region.”

Bergman, who is being accompanied by the Democratic Congressmen Donald Norcross and Jimmy Panetta, said they would be meeting “U.S. personnel” while in Taiwan, though did not specify if they were military or civilian.

The United States is Taiwan’s most important arms supplier and international supporter, despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties.

Taiwan’s democratically-elected government rejects China’s sovereignty claims, saying only the island’s people can decide their future.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Fabian Hamacher; editing Miral Fahmy)