On the morning of May 14, President Tsai Ing-wen met with participants in the 13th session of an international training course organized by Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense for senior military officers from allies in Latin America and the Caribbean. She praised the training course as an important platform for military exchanges between Taiwan and other nations, and said she hopes to use closer exchanges and cooperation to promote development in all the participating countries.
In remarks, the president noted that this series of international training courses is in its 47th year, and is an important platform for military exchanges between Taiwan and other nations. For this year's program, she said, we have sought to expand the reach of this cooperation and exchange initiative by inviting participants from countries that are not official diplomatic allies.
Noting that her visitors were from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, and Peru, President Tsai extended a warm welcome on behalf of Taiwan's people and armed forces.
The president also stated that Taiwan took various measures in 2017 to enhance military cooperation with other countries. Former Minister of National Defense Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) and Chief of the General Staff Lee Hsi-ming (李喜明), for example, both visited diplomatic allies in Latin America, where they met with heads of state as well as senior political and military officials.
President Tsai further explained that this training course is a result of those measures to promote military cooperation, increasing the number of participants by 50% while showing how important the participating countries are to Taiwan. She also said she hopes to use closer exchanges and cooperation to enhance mutual friendship.
President Tsai emphasized that more than 8,100 people have graduated from this series of training courses to date, and they now hold important positions in countries around the world. So in addition to expressing great admiration for the outstanding training course participants, the president said she also believes that like their predecessors, they will all become good friends of Taiwan, adding: "Memories of Taiwan will be your common bond."
Describing the program as a network for friendly interaction, cooperation, and exchange, President Tsai welcomed everyone to become part of that network. She also expressed hope that everyone will work together to effectively promote development in all the countries involved.
President Tsai thanked her visitors for their friendship and support, and asked them to continue speaking on Taiwan's behalf at international venues. She also said she was glad to have the opportunity to help the participants get to know Taiwan better.
The president then pointed out that course work and field trips will give participants a better understanding of Taiwan's military development and our diverse culture. Over the past week, she said, they no doubt had many new experiences, and she wished them success during the remainder of their stay in Taiwan.