In remarks during her meeting with Belgian Senate President Jacques Brotchi and Mrs. Brotchi on the morning of May 6, President Tsai Ing-wen said that Belgium is a Taiwan trade partner in the European Union (EU), and expressed hope that the Belgian government will encourage the EU to open investment negotiations with Taiwan as soon as possible to give bilateral investments greater protection and ensure favorable treatment.
President Tsai also said she was pleased to meet with Belgian Senate President and Mrs. Brotchi. Mr. Brotchi made several visits to Taiwan during his tenure as chairman of the World Federation of Neurological Societies (WFNS), and found time for this visit even though Belgian federal elections are just around the corner. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, President Tsai offered a sincere welcome.
President Tsai also expressed gratitude to Senate President Brotchi and the Belgian parliament for their long-standing support for Taiwan, having passed many Taiwan-friendly resolutions, and supporting a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) between Taiwan and the EU and Taiwan's participation in international organizations, as well as lauding Taiwan's efforts to maintain regional peace.
President Tsai also stated that Belgium has long been a Taiwan trade partner in the EU, with numerous substantive exchanges. Fields that Taiwan is actively developing like green energy technology, biotech, and pharmaceuticals are important and highly developed industries in Belgium, she said, and many Belgian firms have already made joint investments in Taiwan's industrial development.
President Tsai also noted that the European Commission's Report on the Implementation of the Trade Policy Strategy Trade for All published in September of 2017 states that the EU is preparing to open trade negotiations with Taiwan. So we hope that Senate President Brotchi will request that the Belgian government encourage the EU to open negotiations with Taiwan as soon as possible to give bilateral investments greater protection and ensure favorable treatment.
President Tsai also said that Senate President Brotchi has actively promoted international medical exchanges for many years, and even when faced with strong opposition from China, helped Taiwan's Dr. Tu Yong-kwang (杜永光 ) get elected as WFNS president, allowing one of our outstanding physicians to contribute to the international medical system.
President Tsai emphasized that health is a fundamental human right, but China is exerting political pressure on Taiwan by preventing our participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA). This not only creates a gap in the disease prevention network, but also sacrifices people's health around the world. This year, leaders of the Taiwan friendship groups from the European Parliament, United Kingdom, France, and Germany sent a joint letter to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus calling on the WHO to invite Taiwan to attend the WHA. The president expressed hope that Senate President Brotchi will urge the Belgian government to support Taiwan's participation.
Democracy and freedom, President Tsai said, are not only universal values, but also ideals that Taiwan and Belgium share, and that given the commitment of Senate President Brotchi and the Belgian parliament, bilateral relations will surely continue to improve.
President Tsai closed her remarks by once again welcoming Senate President and Mrs. Brotchi, and expressed hope that this visit will give their delegation fond memories of Taiwan.
The delegation included Belgian Office in Taipei Director Rik Van Droogenbroeck and head of the Belgian Senate Department of Protocol and External Relations Thibaut Cardon, accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Kelly Wu-Chiao Hsieh (謝武樵). National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維) was also present.