U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, made the following statement today upon arriving in Taiwan to take part in activities celebrating the inauguration of President Ma Ying-jeou:
"It is an honor to be in Taiwan. My ancestral homeland is another beautiful, semi-tropical island -- Cuba -- so being in Taiwan makes me feel right at home.
"I would like to formally congratulate President Ma on his inauguration for a second term.
"For decades, the U.S. and Taiwan have forged a strong partnership, and we cooperate closely in economics, foreign policy, and especially security matters.
"We are here to discuss the rise of China, how to advance our bilateral trade, and how best to preserve Taiwan as a beacon of democracy.
"I look forward to meeting with President Ma, Vice President Wu, Premier Chen, and other senior Taiwanese officials from both the government and the opposition to discuss ways to make the U.S.-Taiwan relationship even stronger.
"An old proverb about Taiwan states that "A good friend shields you from the storm.' We, from the United States Congress, are here to assure you that America is such a friend."