President Tsai Ing-wen met with scholars and experts from the Project 2049 Institute on the morning of June 12. She stated that Taiwan will continue to cooperate closely with the United States to strengthen our bilateral partnership in a free and open Indo-Pacific, and address regional threats and challenges together.
In remarks, President Tsai began by welcoming her visitors to Taiwan. Ambassador Richard Armitage, former US Deputy Secretary of State, is an old friend of Taiwan, she said, and he led a delegation from the Project 2049 Institute to the Presidential Office last year as well. The president said that she was happy to see him again and to have the opportunity to interact with the experts and scholars present at the meeting.
President Tsai pointed out that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), and that both Taiwan and the United States have hosted a number of commemorative events. The Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Brookings Institution, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted a special joint videoconference on the TRA, and she specially thanked Ambassador Armitage for introducing her address at that videoconference. She also expressed hope that more frequent exchanges will help impress upon everyone the importance of the TRA for both Taiwan and the United States.
Commenting on bilateral cooperation, President Tsai stated that the United States is Taiwan's most important strategic and economic ally. Over the past three years, the two countries have worked closely together in both security and economic affairs. The US government has announced three arms sales packages to Taiwan since she took office, which has helped us bolster our national security, she said. And last month, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar spoke up for Taiwan's international participation at the World Health Assembly. All of these examples demonstrate the United States' support for Taiwan.
The president expressed her belief that Taiwan-US relations are the best they have been in years. We officially changed the name of our office in charge of US affairs from the Coordination Council for North American Affairs to the Taiwan Council for US Affairs, thanks to dedicated efforts on both sides. Just last week, the president mentioned, she attended the plaque unveiling ceremony commemorating this change. She looked forward to witnessing further developments in Taiwan-US relations alongside our friends in the United States.
President Tsai stated that Taiwan-US relations enjoy staunch bipartisan support. We have many friends in the United States that care deeply about Taiwan, she said, including Ambassador Armitage and the other delegation members. She expressed gratitude for this friendship, and said that we will continue to cooperate closely with the United States to strengthen our partnership in a free and open Indo-Pacific, so that we can address regional threats and challenges together.
In his remarks that followed, Ambassador Armitage expressed his pleasure to be able to bring another delegation to Taiwan, to hear about the hopes and aspirations of the people of Taiwan from President Tsai. Ambassador Armitage pointed out that the joint videoconference at CSIS previously mentioned by the president was a first for the think tank, and received a great deal of attention.
On behalf of the entire delegation, Ambassador Armitage stated his belief that Taiwan must determine its own future, free from outside interference or pressure. The nearly 24 million people of Taiwan have worked hard to achieve a free, open, and democratic process, he said, and it must remain that way. He then thanked President Tsai for her warm hospitality.
Delegation members included Project 2049 Institute President John Gastright Jr.