Washington, Feb. 15 (CNA) A Taiwanese legislative delegation on Wednesday met with Susan Thornton, U.S. principal deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, at the State Department in Washington D.C.
During the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on the situation in the Asia-Pacific and Taiwan-U.S. relations, ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇), a member of the delegation, said in a Facebook post that included a group photo taken in the lobby of the Harry S. Truman Building and another one with Thornton.
Wang said this was the first time in decades Taiwanese legislators have been allowed into the State Department building, which he described as a "breakthrough worth recording."
During their visits to the United States in 2015 as presidential candidates, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) from the DPP and New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) from the Kuomintang met with then Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the building, making them the first presidential candidates from Taiwan to ever be welcomed at the State Department.
The legislative delegation, which arrived in Washington D.C. on Feb. 13, has met with members of the Senate and House of Representatives over the past two days, the first official contact between parliamentarians from the two countries since Donald Trump took office as U.S. president on Jan. 20.
The delegation will also visit New York before returning to Taiwan on Feb. 18.
Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) of the DPP, who heads the delegation, said discussions with the U.S. side mainly focused on Taiwan-U.S. economic and trade interactions, Taiwan's security and participation in international organizations.
She said Trump's attitude toward international and multilateral organizations may be different from his predecessors, but Taiwan still hopes to secure more support from the United States in its bids to take part in international organizations.
Although the U.S. economic and trade strategy toward the Asia-Pacific region remains unclear following the country's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Taiwan hopes to strengthen bilateral cooperation and economic and trade ties between the two countries, she said.
(By Rita Cheng and Y.F. Low)