May 28, 2024

Duckworth, Sullivan Lead Bipartisan Senate Delegation Reinforcing U.S. Support for Taiwan Following Successful Democratic Elections

In strong display of bipartisan U.S. support for Taiwan, Senate Delegation including Senators Butler and Coons will meet with newly-inaugurated President Lai Ching-te


[TAIPEI, TAIWAN] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois)—who served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years and is a member of both the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC)—and U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), himself a SASC member as well as a retired Colonel with 30 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, are leading a bipartisan Congressional Delegation to underscore and reaffirm our nation’s strong bipartisan support for the Taiwanese people just days after the peaceful transition of power to and inauguration of President Lai Ching-te following Taiwan’s successful democratic elections in January. The Delegation, which also includes U.S. Senators Laphonza Butler (D-California) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware), plans to meet with a number of officials while in Taiwan—including President Lai and Vice President Hsiao Bi-khim, whose Democratic Progressive Party favors strong ties with the United States—as it endures escalating and increased threats from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) before traveling to Singapore to participate in the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Shangri-la Dialogue, which is one of Asia’s premier global international security and defense summits. Photos can be found on Senator Duckworth's website.

“I’ve always believed that if America wants to remain a global leader, we have to show up and support our friends like Taiwan—a partner that our nation has strong economic and military ties with—who are facing escalating threats from the PRC as they work to strengthen their own democracy,” said Senator Duckworth. “In recent years, I’ve worked with colleagues across the aisle—including with Senators Sullivan, Coons & Butler—to help the people of Taiwan strengthen their civil defense, deliver desperately-needed COVID vaccines in the height of the pandemic and deepen our trade ties on everything from chip manufacturing to agricultural investments. To build on these efforts, I’m honored and proud to lead this bipartisan delegation—the first Senate delegation to Taiwan since the inauguration of their new President—with Senator Sullivan to do just that. We’re here to reaffirm and redouble our nation’s commitment to President Lai and the people of Taiwan, as well as send a strong message to the world that the United States stands with Taiwan and is here for the long haul.”

“We’re here in Taiwan to demonstrate to the world that the United States stands firm with the island democracy of Taiwan and to congratulate the Taiwanese people on another successful election and transfer of power,” said Senator Sullivan. “In these increasingly dangerous times, it is critical that America show steady, unwavering bipartisan commitment and resolve in support of Taiwan’s democracy and—critically—we must work with our allies to enhance cross-strait deterrence now. Today, Taiwan is considered one of the freest countries in the world. Every Taiwan election threatens the central premise of the Chinese Communist Party—that one person ruling in perpetuity knows what’s best for 1.4 billion people. This is a giant vulnerability for the Chinese Communist Party’s rule.”

“I am honored to arrive in Taiwan with this bipartisan delegation to congratulate the Taiwanese people on a successful democratic election,” said Senator Butler. “Now more than ever, it is essential that America supports democracies like Taiwan in the wake of increasing threats to freedom and democracy around the globe.”

“I am glad to join this important visit to Southeast Asia with a bipartisan group of colleagues,” said Senator Coons. “This trip is an opportunity to reiterate America’s commitment to ensuring peace and stability across the region, especially after Congress passed a bipartisan $8.1 billion Indo-Pacific security package last month. The United States has a strong network of allies and partner nations that share fundamental values that serve as a beacon for the region and beyond. I look forward to a productive trip that reinforces our shared focus on bolstering economic growth, democracy, and the rule of law.”

This official trip to Taiwan builds on a 2021 trip where Duckworth, Sullivan and Coons travelled to Taiwan to announce that the United States would donate 750,000 COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan as part of President Biden’s plan to provide vaccines to our global partners in need.

Duckworth is a proven leader when it comes to strengthening our relations with Indo-Pacific nations and improving security in the region—which she has done while successfully securing significant international investments in Illinois. Recently, Duckworth introduced the Access to Care for Overseas Military Act to improve medical readiness within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and ensure our nation’s servicemembers and their families have access to quality patient care throughout the Indo-Pacific region—where they often must travel long distances to receive care—whether during peacetime or in the event of a conflict abroad. Last year, Duckworth led an official visit to Japan and Indonesia as part of her continuing efforts to strengthen ties and reinforce support between allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and the United States. And last summer, Duckworth led another official visit to the Indo-Pacific region again, visiting Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines to meet with government and business leaders and discuss opportunities that would increase cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as economic investments, regional stability and national security.

Duckworth also successfully included a modified version of her Strengthen Taiwan’s Security Act in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to help Taiwan strengthen its military defenses.

Senator Sullivan’s experience in the Indo-Pacific goes back nearly 30 years, when he was deployed as a young Marine officer to the Taiwan Strait during what became known as the “Third Taiwan Strait Crisis.” He returned to the region frequently during the Bush administration as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs. 

Now as a U.S. Senator, Sullivan is in the region frequently working on behalf of the people of Alaska as well as American national security interests. Sen. Sullivan is the author of the STAND with Taiwan Act, a bill to impose devastating, comprehensive economic, energy and financial sanctions on China in the event that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army invade or otherwise use force against Taiwan. Over the past 18 months, Sullivan has also made a series of presentations to policy institutes in Washington detailing “Why Taiwan Matters” and the implications of a Chinese invasion for the rest of the world. Just before Taiwan’s most recent elections, Sen. Sullivan sponsored a resolution, which passed unanimously in the Senate, praising Taiwan’s democratic achievements. Most recently, Sen. Sullivan worked tirelessly to include $16 billion in the historic national security supplemental legislation for American-made weapons systems and U.S. military presence relevant to the defense of Taiwan.  

Senator Sullivan also serves as Chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI).