Rep. Curtis provides insight into recent meeting with Taiwan president

Apr 6, 2023, 9:30 PM | Updated: Jan 5, 2024, 12:57 pm

John Curtis...

If Congress shuts down, Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) said he wants to make it illegal for members of Congress to get paid.(Photo: Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

(Photo: Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY — Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen transited through California this week to visit with a group of bipartisan lawmakers at the Ronald Reagan Library.

Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) was among the group of lawmakers to visit with the Taiwan president. Curtis joined Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson on Thursday to discuss what was talked about behind closed doors.

Matheson began the conversation by asking, “Give us a kind of behind-the-scenes sense in terms of how this conversation began?”

Curtis began by mentioning he had served a church mission to Taiwan in the late 1970s.

“It was a lot of fun for me to be with President Ing-wen,” Curtis said. “I had been with her just last December in Taiwan. And she, of course, remembers the members of Congress that speak Mandarin.”

Taiwan president and the relationship with the U.S.

Matheson asked, “Give us a sense of what was the feeling in the room in terms of the relationship between the Taiwan and the U.S.?”

Curtis referenced a statement made by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) that the relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan is stronger now than they’ve ever been in his lifetime.

“And that’s a pretty bold statement,” Curtis said. 

Curtis says that when he was in Taiwan in 1979, both Taiwan and China were under martial law. 

“Compare where they have come now,” Curtis said. “In one sense, Taiwan has moved closer and closer to our values coming out of martial law. And China has moved just the opposite direction, of course, moving further and further away from our values.”

Curtis says Taiwan’s progression and China’s stated objective to reclaim Taiwan are the heart of so much tension.

Two major themes

He says there were two major themes that came out of the meeting this week. First, was the clear bipartisan nature of the visit.

“I would guess there were maybe a dozen or 15 or more of members bipartisan standing together and nodding heads in this unanimous fashion that we are united on this front,” Curtis said. “The relationship to Taiwan is very important to us.”

The second theme had to do with the U.S. response if China were to invade Taiwan. It was a question asked by reporters to the U.S. delegation. 

“(Rep. McCarthy) kept saying our mission, our goal, our passion, everything about what we’re doing is to make sure that never happens,” Curtis said. 

Matheson asked, “(Is) there something we need to keep our eye on, or something I need to pay attention to moving forward as it relates to Taiwan?”

“I think it surprises a lot of people that Taiwan is our sixth largest trade partner here in Utah,” Curtis said. “Many of our schools in my district and around have this dual immersion where our young children are learning to speak Chinese.”

Listen to the entire segment.


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

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Rep. Curtis provides insight into recent meeting with Taiwan president