On the morning of March 30, while attending a banquet commemorating the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Taiwan Relations Act and the first anniversary of the Taiwan Travel Act, President Tsai Ing-wen stated that Taiwan is at the forefront of the world's struggle to resist Chinese pressure. As long as we safeguard our sovereignty, refrain from engaging in rash behavior and refuse to buckle under pressure, we help to maintain regional peace and stability and win the support of the international community.
In remarks, President Tsai said that having just returned from Hawaii two days before, she felt very happy to again see so many good friends who care about Taiwan-US relations and Taiwan's future. She started by expressing her respect for President Mike Kuo (郭正光) of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), saying that despite the mistreatment he had recently suffered, everyone knows what a fine man Dr. Kuo is, and she encouraged him to keep giving his all for Taiwan.
President Tsai pointed out that Taiwan-US relations have steadily improved thanks to the efforts of many people, and this improvement is evident to one and all. In addition to arms sales and the provision of key technological support that Taiwan needs to build its own submarines, US Congress has also enacted many Taiwan-friendly legislative bills, and the president attributed these successes to everyone's hard work.
During her recent stopover in Hawaii, said the president, she spoke by phone with many Taiwan supporters in the US Congress and various government agencies. Everyone told her that Taiwan is a reliable friend, and that the US government will definitely give democratic Taiwan their full support. Just a few days ago, she added, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States will use every tool in its tool kit to prevent China from isolating Taiwan. She trusts that the United States will do more in the future to honor its commitments.
President Tsai stated that our success in securing the passage of the Taiwan Travel Act was due in part to FAPA's vigorous efforts to lobby US Congress members. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, the president thanked the organization for its efforts.
The president said that everyone who cares about Taiwan's future would no doubt have noted that Taiwan and the United States jointly announced a plan to launch the Indo-Pacific Democratic Governance Consultations two weeks ago, an annual event which will provide a platform for regular bilateral dialogue. Initiatives of this sort, she said, show that the two countries are committed to a shared set of common values, including democracy, freedom, and human rights, and the United States sees Taiwan as a reliable, hardworking partner and friend in the Indo-Pacific region.
President Tsai said this foundation of trust has taken a long time to build up. The international community has two main fears regarding Taiwan. First, it worries that Taiwan could buckle under pressure . Second, it worries that external support might prompt Taiwan to engage in rash behavior . Both of these scenarios would affect regional stability, she said, so building trust is easier said than done. Taiwan is at the forefront of the world's struggle to resist Chinese pressure. In the face of external pressure, we safeguard our sovereignty, refrain from rash behavior and refuse to buckle under pressure, and help to maintain the peaceful cross-strait status quo, she said.
President Tsai emphasized that the consistency of our actions demonstrates that Taiwan is a stable and reliable friend to the international community, so when China pressures Taiwan to accept its "one country, two systems" model, we are able to speak out in vigorous opposition and receive support from the international community. No one calls us a troublemaker, because they believe in Taiwan and support us.
President Tsai said this means that the path we have taken for the past three years has been well chosen, and we are headed in the right direction. Taiwan is a small country, so to fight for space in the international arena, we have to do more than just state our positions; we must act wisely, and skillfully handle situations. As long as we contribute to regional peace and stability, the international community will support democratic Taiwan. This is the correct path for us.
The president said she realized that everyone at the banquet wanted to hear about more than just Taiwan-US relations. They were worried about prospects for 2020 and Taiwan's future. She reminded her listeners that, without exception, the Democratic Progressive Party has won past presidential elections whenever it has maintained unity, and lost when it was divided. Unity is key, she said, because unity means victory.
The president said that since returning to power in 2016, her party has tenaciously defended Taiwan's sovereignty and pursued pension reform, economic development, transitional justice, recovery of ill-gotten party assets, energy sector transformation, and the fortification of Taiwan's social safety net. These seven initiatives, she said, have been the unchanging central focus of her administration, and she is willing to withstand whatever pressure these reforms may bring. "Tsai Ing-wen is not afraid of getting hurt," she declared, but we cannot allow Taiwan's sovereignty to be harmed, and we cannot back off from any of these seven initiatives.
President Tsai expressed confidence that all our friends in FAPA who support Taiwan and support democracy clearly understand that when facing changing international conditions, Taiwan needs to put together its toughest team to continue leading the country on the right path. If we are headed in the right direction, we must have confidence; if we are on the right path, we must stay the course, she emphasized. Pledging that she would continue striving to ensure everyone's confidence in our future, the president asked everyone to also have confidence in her and in Taiwan, and to persevere for Taiwan's sake no matter the difficulties.
Legislative Yuan President Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), and FAPA President Mike Kuo also attended the event.