A new caucus in Taiwan’s legislature was formally established today to support closer ties to the United States.

The “Legislative Yuan USA Caucus” inaugural event was presided over by Taiwan’s recently appointed representative to the U.S., Hsiao Bi-khim, and Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Brent Christensen.

This was Hsiao's first public event as de facto ambassador. Hsiao offered a few personal observations in her remarks. She said that she was moved to return to the legislature, where she had previously served with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

“The greatest difference between serving as a legislator and as ambassador is that the pressures are immeasurably greater,” she said, adding that successes and failures as a lawmaker were personal. But the task of handling her country's relationship with the U.S. “only permits success.” Within a week, Hsiao will leave to take up her position in Washington.

Christensen sought to place the caucus’s founding in the history of U.S.-Taiwan relations. The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 and more recent legislation such as the Taiwan Travel Act and the TAIPEI Act, Christensen noted, are “a potent symbol of the deep reservoir of support for Taiwan in the U.S. Congress, and more broadly, among the American people they represent.”

"Likewise, the formation of this caucus embodies the goodwill of Taiwanese people from all walks of life towards the United States that I have personally experienced over the decades,” Christensen said.

Hsiao emphasized the importance of exchanges between the legislative bodies of Taiwan and the U.S., citing the important Taiwan-related laws coming out the U.S. Congress. Although the epidemic has paused in-person delegation visits, she will assiduously pursue remote exchanges until in-person visits become possible.

Various minor dignitaries from Taiwan’s political life were in attendance. DPP legislator Lo Chih-cheng will act as the first chair of the caucus. A total of 71 legislators across political parties have joined the caucus, according to CNA.

The caucus joins similar legislative groups that advocate for cultural, economic, and diplomatic ties to the United Kingdom, Japan, and other counties.

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TNL Editor: Nicholas Haggerty, Daphne K. Lee (@thenewslensintl)

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