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President Tsai visits Culture Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles
President Tsai visits Culture Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles

While en route to diplomatic allies Paraguay and Belize, President Tsai Ing-wen and her delegation made a transit stop in Los Angeles. Their chartered aircraft arrived at noon on August 12 local time (early morning hours of August 13 Taipei time) at Los Angeles International Airport. ROC Representative to the United States Stanley Kao (高碩泰) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty boarded the plane to welcome the president, who subsequently proceeded to her hotel where she received an enthusiastic welcome from the overseas community.

Later that afternoon, President Tsai visited the Culture Center of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles. In addition to familiarizing herself with the center and learning how its facilities are used by Taiwanese-American youth, the president also met with young students who are learning about Taiwanese glove puppetry culture, and tried her hand at operating a puppet.

In remarks, President Tsai said she had always wanted to know how young Taiwanese expatriates stay connected to Taiwan, and added that the afternoon's meeting could inspire fresh thinking from everyone. Since assuming the presidency in 2016, she has sought to give Taiwan opportunities to reform, which is why the government has been in a race against time for the past two years. If the government moves too slowly, she said, it will be left farther and farther behind, and that is why the past two years have been quite challenging.

Nevertheless, said the president, the government's efforts over these two years have laid the groundwork on many different fronts. Now that the pension system has been reformed, for example, the nation's fiscal situation will become more stable. Now we can make plans for future development undertakings and other measures to make the country stronger. The government has also set the stage for Taiwan's energy transformation by amending legislation to enable rapid development of renewable energies. The president said this is a significant trend because the importance of renewable energies to the world of tomorrow is undeniable. That is why the government is vigorously supporting solar and offshore wind power. Such technology will support a move away from large, centralized power generation facilities and toward clean energy sources. It has already begun to change the structure of Taiwan's energy market, making it more diversified and enabling more people to become active in the power industry.

Commenting on the national defense industry as well as other industries that can support Taiwan's national defense self-sufficiency—which is one focal point of the "5+2 industrial innovation program"—President Tsai noted that the government has invested a lot of resources on this front and laid a strong foundation. The Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation and the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science & Technology, for example, have hired some 1,000 and 2,000 engineers respectively, to support the local production of fighter jets. In this industry, high-tech and system management talent are what we need most moving forward, she said. The artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) industry is booming in Taiwan, and our government intends to develop this industry systematically.

President Tsai stated that the government is engaged on many fronts, and a lot of opportunities are starting to appear. And since there are opportunities, the president called on everyone to work together with the government. In previous trips overseas, she recalled, the young people she met all said they were hoping to find a way home. The president stated that the road back home is already under construction, but has not yet been completed. So she welcomed everyone to join in the work to make this road as big and smooth as possible.

After completing her remarks, President Tsai took part in discussions with the assembled Taiwanese-American youth. With regard to the topic of how to attract young people to work and invest in Taiwan, President Tsai responded that upon assuming office she instructed the Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) to establish substantive links between Taiwan and expatriate communities around the world, which means to do more than simply staying in touch with such communities. She asked the OCAC to set up a liaison window as soon as possible and then establish a domestic platform to integrate information, resources, and opportunities of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the National Development Council, so that these could be provided to overseas compatriots. This is one thing that can be done to establish links between expatriate communities and Taiwan. The president emphasized that if Taiwanese-American youth wish to pursue careers in Taiwan, the government stands ready to help them make connections with our society. She then added: "This is your best chance! Don't miss out!"

Among those attending the event were AIT Chairman James Moriarty, Secretary-General to the President Chen Chu (陳菊), National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), OCAC Minister Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興), Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Mei-Hua Wang (王美花), Legislators Hsiao Bi-Khim (蕭美琴), Lee Chun-Yi (李俊俋), Chen Yi-Chieh (陳怡潔), Tsai Shih-Ying (蔡適應), Chou Chun-Mi (周春米), Lai Jui-Lung (賴瑞隆), and ROC Representative to the United States Stanley Kao.

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