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  • President Tsai meets American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond F. Burghardt
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President Tsai meets with American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond F. Burghard. President Tsai Ing-wen meets with American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond F. Burghardt.
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During a meeting on the morning of September 13 with American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Raymond F. Burghardt, President Tsai Ing-wen thanked Chairman Burghardt for the contributions he has made over the course of many years for promoting Taiwan-US relations. The president also briefed him on the state of cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and the US in such areas as economic and trade relations, security, and international participation, and expressed hope for further enhancement on these fronts.

In remarks, President Tsai noted that Mr. Burghardt, the outgoing AIT chairman, took over the post over ten years ago in February 2006, and will be much missed, both by herself and by his many other friends in Taiwan and the US. At the same time, however, she wished Mr. Burghardt the best of success with his future plans.

The president mentioned that Mr. Burghardt personally accompanied her throughout her 2015 visit to the US and her 2016 transit stop in Los Angeles. His hospitality on those two occasions was testament to the friendly bilateral ties between Taiwan and the US, and put an exclamation point on Mr. Burghardt's years of work to promote Taiwan-US relations.

The president pointed out that during a stellar diplomatic career of more than 40 years, Mr. Burghardt has spent 12 years contributing to Taiwan-US ties. His efforts are deeply appreciated, and his friendship is cherished. Mr. Burghardt is very welcome, said the president, to come back to Taiwan whenever he has the opportunity.

Commenting on Taiwan-US relations, President Tsai stated that the US is Taiwan's most important strategic partner. On the basis of shared values and common interests, Taiwan and the US maintain strong political, security, economic, and cultural ties, and the bilateral friendship is close and special. The stable relationship between the two countries has always been a cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, she added.

As for bilateral economic and trade ties, President Tsai expressed hope that Taiwan and the US can further enhance their economic partnership and step up exchanges and cooperation in information and communications technology as well as other emerging infrastructure industries.

Turning to the topic of Taiwan's participation in the process of regional economic integration, President Tsai pointed out that the Taiwan government is already actively pursuing trade liberalization and industrial restructuring as well as measures designed to facilitate Taiwan's admission to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The president also thanked the US for publicly stating on multiple occasions that it welcomes Taiwan's admission to the TPP, and she expressed hope that the US can take concrete action to support Taiwan's participation in the second round of TPP negotiations.

The president further stated that Taiwan is actively seeking to bring its practices more closely in line with international norms. In addition to working to sign bilateral free trade agreements, Taiwan has also passed guidelines for our New Southbound Policy, which seeks to enhance economic connectivity between Taiwan and the countries in ASEAN and South Asia. Through mutually beneficial two-way exchanges in trade, investment and culture, Taiwan will be able to broaden its development horizons. This approach will not only raise Taiwan's overall competitiveness, but will also contribute to regional stability in the Asia Pacific.

Commenting on security ties, President Tsai thanked the US for continuing to sell arms to Taiwan for many years in line with the Taiwan Relations Act, the Six Assurances, and shared regional security interests. She also stated that Taiwan is willing to continue acting as a reliable security partner of the US within the Asia-Pacific region so as to ensure regional peace and stability. The president then expressed hope for the stronger military cooperation between Taiwan and the US.

President Tsai stressed that Taiwan is willing and able to contribute to the international community in such areas as public health, humanitarian assistance, aviation security, and anti-terrorism. She noted that the US has always actively assisted Taiwan in its efforts to achieve greater international participation. Examples of such assistance, she said, include the very supportive stance that the US has taken when Taiwan has sought to take part in such international bodies as the World Health Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the International Criminal Police Organization. The president expressed gratitude for this assistance.

President Tsai stated that the US-Taiwan Global Cooperation and Training Framework has enabled the two countries to expand their cooperation on global issues. Through such bilateral cooperation, she said, Taiwan is able to contribute proactively and meaningfully both within the region and globally.

Also included among the visitors were AIT Taipei Office Director Kin Moy and Deputy Director Robert Forden.
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