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Is Taiwan’s government more open than ours?

Snow covered Mount Fuji is seen from Tokyo on February 16. (PHOTO: Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images) Snow-covered Mount Fuji is seen from Tokyo on Feb. 16. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

Try as we might — okay, we didn’t try that hard — we could not find out last week which Republican House members were traveling (with spouses) on the taxpayer dime to Asia this week with stops in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines and Hong Kong.

The eight-member congressional delegation (codel)  was led by House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), whose office declined requests to list which of his GOP colleagues were accompanying him on the trip.

But thanks to a report Tuesday from the Central News Agency in Taiwan, we now know the tightly held names. (Our Chinese being a wee bit rusty, we relied on Google Translate.)

But thanks to a report Tuesday from the Central News Agency in Taiwan, we now know the tightly held names. Our Chinese being a wee bit rusty, we appreciated the news agency’s identification of the lawmakers in letters we could read. But what exactly did the characters say outside those parenthetical lapses into English?

We asked Google Translate.

The “Xiluoaisi” — or Ed Royce as he’s known here — delegation was “led by a strong lineup,” CNA reported based on an official government announcement, including Republicans “Xixia Bo,” a.k.a. Rep. Steve Chabot (Ohio); “Xiweiersen,” or Rep. Joe Wilson (S.C.); and Rep. “Maise” Luke Messer (Ind.). There was also a Democrat we hadn’t known about — “Mr. Borda Luo,” or Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) — and a Republican who defied translation, Rep. Randy Weber (Tex.).

The Foreign Affairs Ministry called the delegation “heavyweight, meaning very great, full of friendship and bipartisan congressional support,” according to Google’s translation of the CNA report.

The ministry of foreign affairs called the delegation”heavyweight, meaning very great, full of friendship and  bipartisan congressional support,” CNA reported. (That’s how the Google translation came out.)

This trip was Loop-recommended, despite far too many meetings over trade and China’s aggressive actions in its dispute with Japan over several uninhabited islands — with large undersea riches — in the East Asia Sea as well as other difficult policy issues.

It at least offered a chance to get out of Arctic Washington over the weekend and it had the essential overnight in Hong Kong on the off-chance maybe someone might want to do some shopping.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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