During a meeting on the afternoon of December 12 with Ambassador Matthew J. Matthews, United States Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Senior Official for APEC, President Tsai Ing-wen stated that Taiwan will continue promoting economic reforms, revising its laws and regulations, and engaging in trade talks with important trading partners in an effort to take part in the process of regional economic integration.
In remarks, President Tsai first extended a warm welcome to Ambassador Matthews, who had just visited Taiwan this past June. The fact that he would visit twice within a half year, said the president, clearly demonstrates the ambassador's support for Taiwan and the strength of Taiwan-US relations. The president thanked the US for the support it has lent to Taiwan over the past eight years in the areas of political, security, economic, and cultural ties, and for cooperating with Taiwan, thus bringing about concrete progress across the entire spectrum of Taiwan-US relations. She also expressed hope that the bilateral friendship will continue to be enhanced.
President Tsai pointed out that the Taiwan-US Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), which was just launched in 2015, has now become an important platform for bilateral cooperation. Noting that Ambassador Matthews delivered the keynote address at the Conference on Energy Efficiency in Asia this past June, the president expressed confidence that her visitor has a good understanding of this platform and will be willing to share widely.
The president stressed that Taiwan, as a member of the international community, is very willing and able to take part in international organizations. We thank the US government, she said, for frequently issuing public statements and taking concrete actions to support Taiwan in gaining sufficient room on the international stage and ensure that Taiwan's contributions are properly recognized. In the area of economic and trade ties, Taiwan will continue to engage in multilateral and bilateral talks with its major trading partners. "Taiwan should not be excluded," said the president, "from any comprehensive Asia-Pacific regional free trade agreement or supra-regional economic integration initiative."
President Tsai stated that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) faces an uncertain future, but it is the government's responsibility to prepare for the future, so Taiwan will continue to promote economic reforms and revise its laws and regulations in order to establish a good foundation for restructuring the economy. At the same time, the president voiced hope that the US can understand Taiwan's determination to promote multilateral and bilateral free trade agreements, and to take part in the process of regional economic integration. And hopefully, she said, the US will continue to support the signing of a Taiwan-US bilateral investment agreement or free trade agreement.
Commenting on cooperation between the two countries on APEC matters, the president stated that during the recent APEC Economic Leaders' Week activities in November, Taiwan and the US decided to jointly launch the APEC Women and the Economy Sub-Fund, which is an example of successful cooperation made possible by a high-level of trust between Taiwan and the United States, and it also represents a concrete measure in support of the economic rights of women. As a member of the international community, Taiwan hopes that through initiatives and participation of this sort it can enable the female labor force to play a bigger role as an engine of national economic development.
President Tsai thanked Ambassador Matthews and the Obama administration for their close cooperation and support in APEC matters, including arranging for our Leader's Representative, James Soong (宋楚瑜), to meet face-to-face with US Secretary of State John Kerry. The president expressed her firm belief that this sort of close cooperation between Taiwan and the US will prove conducive to further enhancement of the bilateral friendship.
After the conclusion of President Tsai's remarks, Ambassador Matthews then delivered remarks of his own, saying that the US and Taiwan cooperated quite closely at APEC and the two sides have both worked hard to create a more open and free environment for economic, trade, and investment relations. In particular, the joint announcement by Taiwan and the US of plans to establish an APEC Women and the Economy Sub-Fund shows that the two sides are interacting amicably.
Commenting on the interaction between Leader's Representative Soong and Secretary of State Kerry, Ambassador Matthews stated that their meeting went very smoothly and the US side provided repeated assurances of its support for Taiwan. He also voiced a firm belief that Taiwan and the US can continue acting via such platforms as APEC and GCTF to create more opportunities for bilateral cooperation and exchange.
Among those who accompanied Ambassador Matthews to the Presidential Office was Director of the American Institute in Taiwan Kin W. Moy (梅健華).