President Tsai Ing-wen and her accompanying delegation made a transit stop in Hawaii, USA on her diplomatic mission under the theme "Sustainable Austronesia, Working Together for a Better Future—2017 State Visits to Pacific Allies." At 2:30 p.m. on October 28 Hawaii time (8:30 a.m. October 29, Taipei time), the president attended a seminar with scholars from the US-based East West Center and the Pacific Forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
President Tsai's opening remarks are as follows:
Dr. Richard R. Vuylsteke, President of the East-West Center;
Mr. Ralph Cossa, President of the Pacific Forum CSIS;
American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty; Distinguished guests;
Aloha! Good afternoon!
It's a pleasure to see all of you here in Hawaii. I'd like to thank the East-West Center and the Pacific Forum CSIS for bringing us all together. The last time I was at a similar event was back in 2015, when I was in CSIS as a presidential candidate for the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party). It has been some time.
I don't want to spend too much time on opening remarks. I know my time here is short and you have a lot of questions to ask, as usual.
But I do want to first express my appreciation to AIT and the State Department for facilitating this transit, and for their continued support for Taiwan-US relations. We are happy to be able to work so closely together with the US.
To be clear, the relationship between Taiwan and the US has never been better. We welcome the US commitment to peace and stability in the Asia Pacific.
From our discussions with the US, we also recognize the need to make more investments in our own defense. This year, we announced a significant increase in our defense spending, a first step in making up for years of budgetary cuts. We will continue to increase our defense spending, based on the need for procurement of necessary items.
Our economic and trade relations have also grown significantly over the past year. Taiwanese companies are increasingly looking towards the United States as a place to do business and make investments.
In June, we saw our largest-ever delegation attend the SelectUSA investment summit. They made commitments to invest tens of billions of dollars in the US, which will have the effect of creating tens of thousands of new jobs. In September, one of our agricultural delegations also made new orders of close to US$3 billion in US agriculture goods.
At the same time, we are seeing growing interest from US companies in our 5+2 Industrial Innovation Program. We were also pleased to see the US send an official from its Small Business Administration to explore new opportunities under our New Southbound Policy.
All of this highlights the mutually beneficial nature of our bilateral relationship.
I trust that as President Trump visits Asia, we will continue to see firsthand the US commitment to peace and stability in the region. This includes maintaining robust relations with Taiwan, its friend and partner. We look forward to his trip being a resounding success.
This concludes my opening remarks. I want to once again thank you all for coming. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts and discussions in the hours ahead.
Following the seminar, President Tsai and her accompanying delegation visited the USS Arizona Memorial. Upon arrival, the president viewed a documentary film on the history of the politics, the people, and the attack on Oahu. Then tour guides led her to the USS Arizona Memorial by boat. To commemorate the troops who lost their lives in the attack, President Tsai laid a wreath at the memorial and spread flower petals on the surface of the water where the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona lie.
The USS Arizona Memorial, located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii's Pearl Harbor, was built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona, sunk by the Japanese during the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a tribute, the names of the crewmen who died aboard the USS Arizona are inscribed on a wall inside the memorial.