Tsai Ing-wen was elected last week to be Taiwan’s next president. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who sits on the U.S. Senate Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism Subcommittee, congratulated her on Saturday and pointed to Taiwan as a fledgling democracy with much potential :
I congratulate Dr. Tsai Ing-wen as Taiwan’s newly elected president. I have appreciated my interactions in the past with outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou and I look forward to working with Dr. Tsai to deepen the U.S.-Taiwan relationship.
Taiwan’s latest election once again shows the island to be a thriving democracy. The people of Taiwan continue to chart a course of what the future can eventually look like for more than a billion Chinese who still live under Communist Party rule. The Chinese people are surely taking note of the freedoms Taiwan’s citizens enjoy and of the truly representative nature of the government in Taipei.
Tsai Ing-wen will not only be Taiwan’s first female president, but her inauguration will also mark Taiwan’s third peaceful transition of power between opposing political parties, a significant accomplishment for a relatively young democracy. This occurs at a time of growing challenges to regional peace and security, due especially to Beijing’s assertiveness in the region. As Dr. Tsai settles into her new role, the United States must be prepared to stand by Taiwan—to provide moral support, enhance economic links, and deepen our political engagement and our security cooperation including additional arms sales, in the face of possible Chinese threats and attempts at intimidation aimed at the island.
Although the Obama administration has repeatedly failed to give it the consideration and support that it deserves, Taiwan is one of America’s oldest and most loyal friends in Asia. Our peoples share common values and have stood together for freedom in the face of tyranny. We must continue to do so in order to ensure that the Asia-Pacific remains prosperous and peaceful and that democracy continues to flourish in Taiwan.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was elected to the Senate in 2010. He is currently running for the Republican presidential nomination.