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Ex-Official Predicts Trump Will Support Taiwan if Re-Elected

A former U.S. ambassador who was appointed by Donald Trump stated on Saturday that he thinks Trump would continue to support Taiwan if he were to be re-elected. During Trump’s presidency from 2017 to 2021, Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory despite opposition from Taipei, enjoyed robust support, including arms sales—a policy that has been maintained under President Joe Biden. Trump’s 2016 post-election phone call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen caused displeasure in Beijing, due to the U.S.’s official non-recognition of Taiwan’s government, while it was received positively in Taipei.

James Gilmore, Trump’s ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told reporters in Taipei that Trump was not an isolationist but was trying to get U.S. allies to take their own defence more seriously.

“I believe that President Trump will be supportive of Taiwan when he becomes president. He was in his first term,” said Gilmore, visiting Taipei to speak at the Taiwanese think tank the Center for Asia-Pacific Resilience and Innovation.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, is set to face Biden, a Democrat, in a rematch in November’s presidential election.

Gilmore will meet Tsai on his trip though not President-elect Lai Ching-te, who takes office on May 20, due to scheduling issues.

He said he would report back to Trump on his visit, and pass on any messages from Taiwan if given them.

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“I fully expect to write a memorandum and submit it to President Trump. What he does with these memos people send him we do not know,” he said. “But I have made up my mind that I can be helpful.”

Gilmore, the Republican governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002, added he thought lines of communication between Taiwan and the United States were already strong and he did not think he needed to serve as a messenger.

The United States is democratically governed Taiwan’s most important international backer and arms supplier, to the frequent anger of China, which has ramped up military and political pressure against the island.

Taiwan has hosted several Republican lawmakers this year as part of bipartisan delegations visiting the island, including in February Mike Gallagher, then-chair of the House of Representatives select committee on China.

Gallagher said on that trip that no matter who wins the elections, the U.S. would continue to support Taiwan.

(With Inputs From Reuters)