Taiwan’s New Envoy to Washington Has Deep Ties to America

Bi-khim Hsiao, a confidante of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, has arrived in Washington to lead Taiwan’s diplomatic mission. Hsiao told reporters this week that her schedule has been full of teleconferences and some in-person visits since she arrived in Washington a week ago.On Tuesday, she presided over a ceremony that saw Taiwan donate a quarter-million face masks to the American Legion, the largest organization of wartime veterans in the United States. The day before, she met with the top official at the FILE – In this March 28, 2017, file photo, Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., leaves a closed-door strategy session at the Capitol in Washington.Among its strongest supporters is Representative Ted Yoho of Florida, the most senior Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Asia Pacific subcommittee. Last month, he and the subcommittee chair, Representative Ami Bera, a Democrat from California, joined two senators in introducing a bicameral bill aimed at strengthening Americans’ knowledge of Taiwan.The bill, known as the Taiwan Fellowship Act, provides for 10 U.S. government officials to be chosen each year to spend two years studying and working in Taiwan.Yoho said the bill would not only strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan relationship but also enhance the U.S. presence in the Indo-Pacific region. Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, said the bill “pushes back on China’s work to isolate the island nation diplomatically.”On Wednesday, Yoho, introduced another bill, the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, to “clarify and strengthen the commitment of the United States to defend Taiwan in the event of an armed attack” from across the Taiwan Strait.However, with congressional elections looming, both bills face uncertain prospects of becoming law.Hsiao, the first woman to serve as Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the United States, has identified her ultimate goal  as “helping to ensure that Taiwanese people stand tall and feel respected among the world community.”She said in the CNA interview that she was bringing her four cats with her to Washington, noting that cats are known for their ability to find their way out in tight and narrow spaces.In an age marked by China’s wolf warrior diplomacy, Hsiao said she didn’t mind being known as a cat warrior.VOA’s Mandarin service contributed to this report.

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