On the morning of November 13, President Tsai Ing-wen met with the delegation that represented Taiwan at the 25th APEC Economic Leaders' Week. In addition to thanking Leader's Representative James Soong (宋楚瑜) and the entire delegation for speaking out for Taiwan on the international stage, the president also praised the delegation for accomplishing their assigned tasks.
In remarks, President Tsai noted that the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders' Week activities came to a close in the city of Da Nang, Vietnam, and the Taiwan delegation had successfully completed its tasks. She thanked Mr. Soong for acting as her representative again at the most important economic cooperation forum in the Asia-Pacific region. The president emphasized that, at this gathering of world leaders, Taiwan not only took part but still played an important role.
President Tsai pointed out that in response to the APEC theme for 2017: Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future, Taiwan has vigorously supported APEC efforts to spur structural reform and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Commenting on the four priorities for APEC 2017, the president also stated that Taiwan is willing to share its development experience, and outlined the types of contributions that Taiwan can make to the international community.
President Tsai also said that during this year's APEC proceedings, Mr. Soong and the other delegation members engaged in dialogue during multilateral and bilateral meetings with heads of state, government officials, and key business leaders from the United States, Russia, Japan, and the ASEAN member nations. They also naturally interacted with members of the mainland Chinese delegation.
President Tsai stressed that these efforts show Taiwan is determined to act within the APEC framework to promote trade liberalization and facilitation to support multilateral and regional trade systems and build stronger cooperative ties with other countries. Before the delegation departed for APEC, she entrusted them with three important tasks, and these tasks were all accomplished thanks to the efforts of Mr. Soong and the members of the delegation.
President Tsai pointed out that Mr. Soong issued a joint statement with US State Department Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon and Australian Consul-General Karen Lanyon in Ho Chi Minh City announcing that the three sides intend to set up an APEC Women and the Economy Sub-Fund. That announcement, in addition to highlighting Taiwan's success in empowering women, also reflects Taiwan's concrete efforts to expand women's economic participation. The president said that gender issues are far-reaching, and she hopes that, through international cooperation, all sectors of society will embrace gender perspectives. This is the only way we can achieve "inclusive economic growth," she said.
President Tsai noted that Mr. Soong took advantage of opportunities during the trip to interact with heads of state from many of the countries targeted by Taiwan's New Southbound Policy. Every time he shared Taiwan's development experience during bilateral talks and informal discussions, she said, he was putting the New Southbound Policy into practice. The president stated that Mr. Soong communicated Taiwan's vision, and the regional development efforts we've made over the past year, while helping the leaders of other countries understand that Taiwan can play a critical role in regional economic and trade relations.
President Tsai pointed out that since this year's APEC event we have seen new progress toward establishment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which shows that countries throughout the world still hope to promote more wide-ranging economic and trade cooperation via transparent dialogue and exchanges. In other words, new progress brings both opportunities and challenges. The government will do everything in its power to continue adjusting the domestic industrial structure, and show our regional partners that Taiwan is determined to participate in the regional economic integration, the president said.
President Tsai emphasized that Taiwan needs to engage with the world, and the government will seek every possible opportunity to make its presence felt at international venues, thus raising Taiwan's international profile and demonstrating our country's contributions to and sense of responsibility for the international community. "This is the principle that guides our efforts to engage with the world," she said.
The president also pointed out that diplomatic work is a cumulative process that takes years, and must transcend party affiliation or political leanings. The government and civil society must work together if our diplomacy is to succeed, she said, while thanking the delegation for its hard work.
In his earlier remarks, Mr. Soong had thanked all his colleagues for their hard work, and said that the delegation had toiled in a spirit of non-partisan solidarity to get things accomplished and satisfactorily achieve the three tasks entrusted to them by the president.
Mr. Soong pointed out that at this year's APEC event the delegation used different methods and venues to help the leaders of other countries understand that Taiwan is willing to share its experience and limited resources with other countries so that all sides can benefit and complement each other's strengths. Everyone in the delegation displayed outstanding team spirit at this year's APEC event, he said, including both the Economic Leaders' Meeting and the Ministerial Meeting. They brought Taiwan to the world's attention, and showed how Taiwan has helped address climate change and promote the development of small and medium enterprises.
Members of the ROC delegation to the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders' Week included: Mr. Soong's daughter Ms. Soong Cheng-mai (宋鎮邁); Minister without Portfolio John C. C. Deng (鄧振中), who served as the delegation spokesperson; National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶); Minister of Economic Affairs Jong-Chin Shen (沈榮津); National Security Council Advisor Lin Liang-jung (林良蓉); National Policy Advisor to the President Mei-yueh Ho (何美玥); Legislator Hsiao Bi-Khim (蕭美琴); Executive Yuan Political Advisor Jinji Chen (陳錦稷); National Development Council Deputy Minister Chiou Jiunn-Rong (邱俊榮); Chairman Qin Jia Hong (秦嘉鴻) of the Manufacturers United General Association of Industrial Park of ROC; Ma Kai (馬凱), chief editorial writer at the Economic Daily News; Business Today publisher and spokesperson Hsieh Chin-ho (謝金河); Professor Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) of National Taiwan University; Legislator Lee Hung-Chun (李鴻鈞); and the three members of the ABAC (APEC Business Advisory Council)─I-Mei Foods Co. Chairperson Henry Kao (高志尚); PChome Online Inc. Chairman Hung-tze Jan (詹宏志); and Industrial Bank of Taiwan Vice Chairperson Tina Y. Lo (駱怡君).