President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by Vincent "B.J." Lawrence, Commander-in-Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of the United States, on the morning of April 22. In addition to thanking VFW for their longstanding support for Taiwan, the president also expressed hope that her visitors will continue to speak up for Taiwan, to deepen the friendship between Taiwan and the United States.
In remarks, President Tsai stated that she was delighted to meet with VFW Commander-in-Chief Lawrence and National Security & Foreign Affairs Director John Towles at the Presidential Office. She welcomed them to Taiwan, and expressed hope that they would have the opportunity to exchange opinions about military affairs with their counterparts in Taiwan during this trip.
Since taking office in 2016, the president said, her administration has paid close attention to military affairs, and has promoted many policies and devoted efforts to national security and defense. In addition to developing our national defense industries, the government has worked hard to implement domestic military aircraft production policies, to provide better benefits for our military personnel, and to replace their individual equipment.
President Tsai also noted that the military pension reforms we passed last year are focused on building a new retirement system that rewards military retirees based on their length of service, to retain and train talents. She expressed her belief that to give veterans the honor they deserve, we must establish the dignity of our active duty soldiers.
Soldiers are the pillars of our nation, the president stated, and they are on the frontlines defending regional security. "Peace depends on national defense" is more than just a slogan; it is every soldier's daily mission. As Commander-in-Chief of Taiwan's armed forces, she said, her first priority is to take care of both active duty soldiers and veterans.
President Tsai praised VFW for having always been a great role model for the Taiwan government. Many of our ideas about veterans' care have been inspired by the experiences of the United States. And of course, their support for Taiwan's international participation and Taiwan-US friendship speaks for itself, she said.
VFW is more than just a fraternal organization to Taiwan's Veterans Affairs Council, the president mentioned. It has put forth resolutions supporting the Republic of China (Taiwan), urging the US government and Congress to provide stronger support for Taiwan in terms of arms sales, substantive military and security cooperation, and Taiwan's international participation. She thanked the organization for its support and assistance.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, President Tsai said, and a number of our good friends from the United States, including Commander-in-Chief Lawrence and Director Towles, have visited Taiwan, giving us more opportunities for exchange.
The president then expressed hope that the visitors will continue to support Taiwan and speak up for Taiwan, to help deepen the friendship between Taiwan and the United States. In addition to wishing them a smooth and successful trip, she also hoped that they will visit Taiwan more often in the future.