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VIDEO: Rubio Applauds Opening of American Institute in Taiwan’s New Compound in Taipei
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke on the Senate floor today to applaud the opening of the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT) new compound in Taipei.
Last week, Rubio, Gardner, and Senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and John Cornyn (R-TX) urged President Trump to send a Cabinet-level official to the opening of the AIT’s new compound on June 12. In March, President Trump signed Rubio’s Taiwan Travel Act into law, which encourages visits between U.S. and Taiwanese officials at all levels.
Rubio’s floor speech can be watched here. A rough transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below:
RUBIO: None of us here will be able to be in Taipei tomorrow to attend the ceremony. But we all wanted to take this opportunity to applaud the opening of the American Institute in Taiwan and its new compound. This building will be so much more than just a new office space. It will serve as a tangible symbol of the strong and the enduring friendship between the United States and Taiwan, which is a democracy and a strong ally of this country. Taiwan is not just an important economic and security partner, as said already, it is a vibrant democracy. It has a prosperous free enterprise economy. It’s frankly a shining example of what we hope the rest of the Indo-Pacific region will continue to be and become.
The opening of this new office comes at a critical time when both the United States and Taiwan face major challenges that are posed by the Communist Party of China which governs that country. Under the Communist Party, Beijing has increased its efforts to undermine and erode U.S. interests, even as it moves to isolate Taiwan on the international stage. The Chinese government, for example, has successfully blocked Taiwan’s meaningful participation in many international organizations. For example the World Health Organization.
They have, unfortunately here in our own hemisphere, been successful in pressuring certain nations to cut their diplomatic ties with Taiwan and instead create new ones with Beijing. By the way, that’s not Taiwan’s position but it is Beijing’s that makes you choose. You can either have relations with them or Taiwan but not with both. The latest, by the way, is the Dominican Republic, not far from our coast, where in exchange for billions of dollars of assurances, they made that change — they’ll deny it., but you will see the billions coming in. And by the way these billions of dollars sound like a really good deal until you realize they bring their own workers from China and it is all a one-way street. It’s all there to benefit China. Go look around the world at all of these countries that have taken all this money, five years, three years later, terrible deals, terrible terms, good for China, bad for the country that took the money. But in this particular case they were successful and they’re going to continue to chip away at these countries. About a year ago before then Panama cut their ties with Taiwan.
What China has made very clear is that their intention is to continue to both pressure and entice – and I say entice, probably the right word is bribe – additional countries to do the exact same thing and they do it as I said, with the promise of investments and loans— but I encourage these countries and everyone who is listening who cares about this issue – go and look at the history of the loans, and these enticements, and these investments. You’ll see how bad they ultimately are for the country that accepts them. They all come with troubling strings attached.
The Chinese government by the way has even been successful in bullying American companies when it comes to Taiwan or other topics for that matter they deemed “too-sensitive” to the Communist party. Perhaps the most recent, outrageous example is an American working in America – not in China, in America – for an American company Marriott Hotels, was fired from his job because he accidentally liked a tweet that said something about Taiwan and Tibet being intendent of China. So imagine you work for a company, you go online, you accidentally retweet something or like and you get fired because China goes to Marriott and says ‘we’ll cut you off from doing business if you don’t get rid of this guy.” And they fired an American in the United States. So if you think that China’s efforts are things that are happening halfway around the world about Taiwan, they are happening to Americans right here.
A few weeks ago, one of the clothing stores put out a t-shirt. And on this t-shirt it had a map of China but didn’t include Taiwan. And they had to apologize for that and call back all the t-shirt or they were going to get kicked out. American Airlines, United Airlines was told that unless they change their website so that it no longer referred to Taiwan as an independent country, they would be punished. So they are intimidating American businesses in the United States because of Taiwan and other issues which the Communist Party finds unacceptable.
For too long, their aggression has gone unchecked. But China must not be allowed to continue to interfere any further in Taiwan’s relations or standing with the rest of the world. So earlier this year, I along with numerous colleagues passed a law that the president has signed. It is called the Taiwan Travel Act, and it encourages high-level visits between American officials and their Taiwanese counterparts. And I hope the administration will move quickly to begin implementing this and send high-level officials—including Cabinet-level officials—to Taipei to meet with their counterparts there.
Our friendship with Taiwan is based on our shared ideals and the common vision of an Asia that is prosperous, peaceful, and free. The United States must, should, and I hope will continue to stand by Taiwan irrespective of any pressure that others, including the Communist Party of China, may bring to bear on this relationship.