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  • President Tsai meets ROC delegation returning from 2016 APEC Economic Leaders' Week
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President Tsai meets the ROC delegation returning from the 2016 APEC Economic Leaders' Week. (01) President Tsai listens to Chairman Soong's report about issues discussed during the 2016 APEC Economic Leaders' Week. (02)
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On the afternoon of November 24, President Tsai Ing-wen met with the delegation from Taiwan that attended the 2016 APEC Economic Leaders' Week. In addition to thanking Leader's Representative James Soong (宋楚瑜, Chairman of the People First Party) and the rest of the delegation for their hard work, the president also applauded them for fulfilling its appointed tasks.

In remarks, President Tsai noted that APEC is the most important forum in the Asia-Pacific region for multilateral economic and trade cooperation. Ever since its accession to APEC, Taiwan has been an active participant in APEC conferences and related activities and initiatives, and has taken full advantage of opportunities for exchange and cooperation with other countries. Taiwan therefore attaches great importance to the annual APEC Economic Leaders' Week activities, which is why President Tsai chose Chairman Soong to serve as the Leader's Representative.

Commenting on the delegation's achievements, President Tsai noted that before the group departed she entrusted Chairman Soong with three tasks to fulfill, namely: (1) use international exchanges to scout out opportunities for Taiwan's future economic development; (2) pay close attention to the progress of regional economic integration; and (3) communicate with the international community about Taiwan's resolve to be involved in the process of regional economic integration. At this year's APEC Economic Leaders' Week, Chairman Soong and the entire delegation spared no effort to achieve these key tasks, and made use of meetings and other venues to exchange views with the leaders of economies and companies from around the region. Thanks to the efforts of Chairman Soong and the delegation, the trip was a big success.

President Tsai mentioned that APEC is an important platform for Taiwan. Through dialogue and talks, we can achieve substantive participation in international exchanges and cooperation, and convert these into opportunities for Taiwan. In the past, Taiwan has put forward many important international initiatives under the APEC framework. The APEC Digital Opportunity Center (ADOC) , for example, has effectively narrowed the digital divide, and Taiwan has taken part in assessments of progress toward achievement of the Bogor Goals, thus demonstrating Taiwan's firm resolve to continue promoting liberalization of trade and investment. At the same time, Taiwan continues to implement the APEC Skills Development Capacity Building Alliance project to contribute to the development of vocational education throughout the Asia-Pacific region. These initiatives show that Taiwan is determined and able to take substantive part in the international community, and hopes to interact broadly with the international community in order to identify new opportunities for development of Taiwan's economy.

President Tsai also mentioned that Chairman Soong and US Secretary of State John Kerry jointly announced plans to establish an APEC Women and the Economy Sub-Fund. The president stated that this project is an example of successful cooperation made possible by a high level of mutual trust between Taiwan and the United States, and that it supports through concrete action the economic rights of women. Hopefully, said the president, initiatives and participation of this sort will enable the female labor force to play a bigger role as an engine of economic development in Taiwan.

President Tsai indicated that all diplomatic work and international participation requires sustained efforts over a long period of time. She thanked all those who contributed to Taiwan's success at APEC, including the entire delegation, the three delegates to the APEC Business Advisory Council, and all the behind-the-scenes staffers who put in so much hard work. The president called on government agencies to treat the success at APEC as a foundation for future efforts, and to convert opportunities generated by international participation into concrete contributions to Taiwan's national interests.

Chairman Soong then delivered remarks of his own, stating that he had served as the Leader's Representative to the 2016 APEC Economic Leaders' Week at the request of the president, and that the trip had been a huge success because everyone in the delegation worked hard to implement the tasks entrusted to them by the president. In addition to scouting out business opportunities, the delegation also heard the views of world leaders regarding Britain's exit from the European Union, the US presidential elections, and the impact of mainland China's economic rise on the international economy. Moreover, they also voiced Taiwan's views and suggestions regarding such matters.

Chairman Soong stated that this year's APEC summit featured a special focus on wealth inequality, the gap between urban and rural development, job creation, and the quality of human resources. In addition to expressing their views during the various meetings, Taiwan's delegation members also engaged in in-depth discussions with leaders from around the world to explain the efforts and contributions of the Republic of China, and to let other countries know that Taiwan is willing to share its experience. Chairman Soong specially mentioned that he and US Secretary of State John Kerry jointly announced plans to launch a project to promote the economic rights of women, thus giving other countries a chance to better understand the successes that the Republic of China has had in protecting women's rights. Moreover, Taiwan took advantage of this platform to express Taiwan's people-centered democratic values, and its firm belief in the importance of freedom and democracy to regional security and stability.

Shortly thereafter, the delegation held a press conference in the auditorium of the Presidential Office Building, where Chairman Soong described the meetings and what was achieved before fielding questions from journalists.

Chairman Soong emphasized that one of the delegation's important objectives was to make the international community understand that the Republic of China has a lot of experience with development that is worth sharing with other countries. At multiple venues during the week, he spoke about Taiwan's capacity for innovation and the measures our government has taken to build up the country's infrastructure and help small and medium businesses obtain financing. World leaders have come away from APEC, he said, with a better understanding of how Taiwan's experience can be helpful at a time when the global economy is flagging and the gap between urban and rural development is widening.

Chairman Soong expressed sincere gratitude for the pre-trip preparations carried out by various government agencies, and once again thanked President Tsai for giving him this opportunity. He urged the people of Taiwan not to sell themselves short, noting that Taiwan's strategic position, and the deep experience with development that it has accumulated, have put our country in an excellent position to interact with other countries and work together with them on joint undertakings.
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