On the morning of November 1, 2018, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by new American Veterans (AMVETS) National Commander Rege Riley, accompanied by Mrs. Riley. In addition to thanking AMVETS for their long-term support for Taiwan, the president also expressed hope that Taiwan and AMVETS will continue to have frequent exchanges, and that Taiwan will deepen its cooperative partnership with the United States.
In remarks, President Tsai stated that men and women in military service around the world devote their lives to protecting their countries, and are to be admired for dedicating their precious youth to their country and society. So it is the duty of governments in every country to provide military veterans with proper care.
In Taiwan, the president said, retired military personnel are considered "citizens of honor" and our Veterans Affairs Council (VAC) is responsible for meeting their needs, while the United States has a specialized agency, the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as influential organizations like AMVETS. Over the years, our VAC has learned a lot from the comprehensive veterans care system in the United States, and has a deep and long-standing fraternal friendship with AMVETS.
In Taiwan, President Tsai pointed out, we are currently working on two major fronts. The first is to strengthen employment assistance for veterans. So we want to make more funds available for education, employment assistance, and job training. That will give veterans a competitive advantage in the workplace, so that they can continue to contribute their specialized skills throughout society. The second is to integrate healthcare and long-term care services. We are currently integrating VAC-affiliated hospitals and care facilities to create a comprehensive health care network to help elderly veterans and their families maintain quality of life in their golden years.
The president mentioned that she recently visited Taipei Veterans General Hospital, which is under the VAC. She is confident that the VAC's system provides a comprehensive service network that understands veterans' needs, and will play an important role in providing long-term care for our aged society.
Besides welcoming the delegation led by National Commander Riley, President Tsai stated, she also hoped to hear more about AMVETS' experiences, and exchange views about policies that affect veterans. She added that she wanted to express her sincere gratitude to AMVETS for their long-term support for Taiwan. Every year AMVETS submits a resolution urging the US government to strengthen bilateral military and security cooperation with Taiwan. AMVETS has also consistently spoken out on behalf of Taiwan in many important international settings. That kind of staunch friendship is very encouraging for us, the president said.
In closing, President Tsai stated that Taiwan and the United States share common ideals, and are the best partners to defend freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. Looking to the future, she said, the Taiwan government will continue our frequent exchanges with AMVETS, and deepen our cooperative partnership with the United States. She also wished her visitors a smooth and successful visit to Taiwan.