In an interview with VOA, Ambassador Armitage said that the message from the delegation attending the inauguration and subsequent congressional delegations was the U.S.’s bipartisan support for Taiwan’s democracy. 

Armitage praised Lai’s inauguration speech, stating it “put Taiwan on the high road,” and suggested that Lai’s choice of security-related administration signifies “continuity.” This move aims to reassure Taiwan’s friends and partners, while also trying to calm Beijing.

However, Armitage believes China has failed to understand the repercussions of its actions, stating, “the more it bullies Taiwan, the more international support Taiwan receives.”

Regarding Taiwan’s defense, Armitage stressed that it’s not just the “hardware,” such as unconventional, asymmetric weapons and air defense systems that need enhancement. He pointed out that Taiwan’s manpower hasn’t yet reached the desired maintenance level, currently standing at only 80% of the ideal 100%.

With wars and hotspots ongoing in different regions, Armitage asserted that U.S. interest and attention are global. He cautioned that ranking issues of importance or prioritizing one situation over another would only invite problems from areas not considered “number one.”