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President Tsai awards state honor to US Rep. Gregg Harper

President Tsai Ing-wen (right), U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (center) and his wife Sidney Harper toast Taiwan-U.S. ties at the Office of the President June 12 in Taipei City. (Courtesy of Office of the President)

President Tsai Ing-wen (right), U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (center) and his wife Sidney Harper toast Taiwan-U.S. ties at the Office of the President June 12 in Taipei City. (Courtesy of Office of the President)
 

President Tsai Ing-wen awarded June 12 U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon at the Office of the President in Taipei City in recognition of his long-standing support for Taiwan and extensive contributions to strengthening bilateral relations.
 
Calling the co-chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus an important friend of the nation, Tsai said that the government and people sincerely appreciate his tireless efforts in advancing legislation backing Taiwan and advocating the nation’s international participation.
 
Tsai expressed hope that Harper will continue to promote ties and encourage congressional support for the country after his retirement at the end of this year. The nation is grateful for its many friends in the U.S. Congress and their efforts to deepen the robust partnership, she added.
 
In response, Harper thanked the president for the award, describing it as deeply meaningful for him and his family. This honor, as well as the recent promulgation of the Taiwan Travel Act and inauguration of the American Institute in Taiwan’s new office complex earlier the same day, spotlights the steadfast commitment on both sides to bolstering relations, he said.
 
The AIT’s US$255.6 million office was unveiled at a ceremony attended by high-ranking dignitaries and is slated to begin operations in the third quarter of this year. The act, signed into law by U.S. President Donald J. Trump March 16, states that it should be the policy of the U.S. to authorize officials at all levels to travel to Taiwan to meet with their counterparts and allow high-level officials from Taiwan to enter the U.S. under conditions that demonstrate appropriate respect for the dignity of such officials.
 
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Harper visited Taiwan June 10-12 to hold discussions in areas spanning security, economics and trade as well as attend the launch of the AIT complex in Taipei’s Neihu District. (KWS-E)