President Tsai Ing-wen met on the morning of July 24 with former US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. She emphasized that the people of Taiwan will not bow to China's pressure, or give up our precious democratic way of life. We still believe in the power of dialogue, the president said, and our willingness to engage in dialogue with China remains unchanged. As a responsible member of the international community, Taiwan will continue to work to maintain cross-strait and regional peace and stability.
President Tsai stated that a lot has changed since Mr. Carter's last visit a decade ago. But one thing that remains unchanged is our shared commitment to freedom and democracy, she said. In addition to welcoming Mr. Carter to Taiwan again, the president also thanked him for attending this year's Ketagalan Forum.
President Tsai believes that as the world is increasingly interconnected, dialogue is more important than ever. Both Taiwan and the United States support a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. In fact, she said, both sides have enhanced bilateral dialogue on many fronts to achieve that goal.
The president cited the bilateral meeting between health ministers from Taiwan and the United States during this year's World Health Assembly in Geneva as an example that deepened our bilateral partnership. Through dialogues like that, the two countries show their resolve to promote global health, as well as a rules-based global order. Especially in a changing world where our shared values are being challenged around the world, we need to strengthen mutual cooperation, she said.
President Tsai mentioned that China has continued to suppress Taiwan, poaching our diplomatic allies, pressuring international firms to change their designation for Taiwan, and even preventing us from participating in and contributing to the international community. The people of Taiwan will not bow to pressure, or give up our precious democratic way of life. The more China suppresses Taiwan, the stronger our determination to actively contribute to the world.
We still believe in the power of dialogue, the president emphasized, and our willingness to engage in dialogue with China remains unchanged. As a responsible member of the international community, Taiwan will continue to work to maintain cross-strait and regional peace and stability, she stated.
The president also thanked the United States, other like-minded countries and international friends for supporting Taiwan at this testing time. She then expressed hope that Mr. Carter will continue to give Taiwan maximum support, and that ten years from now, the Indo-Pacific region will be more free, stable, and prosperous.
President Tsai closed by wishing Mr. Carter a productive visit in Taiwan, and expressed hope that he will visit us often.