While meeting with American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty on the morning of October 16, President Tsai Ing-wen stated that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), and that Taiwan-US relations are at their best in decades. Taiwan will continue working closely with the United States and other like-minded countries in the region to contribute to peace, stability, and wellbeing in the Indo-Pacific region, she said.
A translation of the president's remarks follows:
I want to welcome Chairman Moriarty to Taiwan, and thank him for accompanying me throughout my transit stops in the United States this past July, making both stopovers smooth and successful.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the TRA, and Taiwan-US relations are at their best in decades.
Last month, we held our first Indo-Pacific Democratic Governance Consultations. And last week, Sandra Oudkirk, US Senior Official for APEC and Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary for Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, visited Taiwan to take part in the first Pacific Islands Dialogue. These are all perfect examples of our strengthening ties.
Last month, Taiwan sent an agricultural procurement mission to the United States, and over the next two years, we plan to buy US$3.7 billion worth of agricultural products. We hope to begin negotiations for the signing of a bilateral trade agreement as soon as possible based on this strong foundation, to further bolster our bilateral trade.
Taiwan and the United States have worked together for years to defend the universal values of freedom, democracy, and human rights. We have also jointly contributed to regional prosperity and development.
As a responsible member of the international community, Taiwan will never give up our international participation in the face of China's suppression, nor will we abandon our commitment to our free and democratic way of life.
Taiwan will continue working closely with the United States and other like-minded countries in the region to contribute to peace, stability, and wellbeing in the Indo-Pacific region. Finally, I want to welcome Chairman Moriarty once again, and wish you a rewarding visit.
Chairman Moriarty then delivered remarks, and stated that in 2019, Taiwan and the United States are commemorating the 40th anniversary of the TRA, and celebrating our enduring partnership grounded in shared interests and shared values. This year we have seen significant advancements in our relationship, the chairman noted, including the opening of AIT's new complex in Neihu and the announcement of plans to sell new F-16 aircraft to Taiwan, just two examples of the strength of our partnership.
Chairman Moriarty pointed out that Taiwan is a valued US partner in addressing key regional challenges, and that together, we are advancing international norms and values like religious freedom and democratic governance.
This year, the chairman stated, has been a milestone year for the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), in which Japan and Sweden have joined us in cosponsoring GCTF events. This is also a reflection of the growing recognition of how much Taiwan has to offer globally, he said.
Chairman Moriarty stated that the United States views Taiwan's security as essential to the security of the Indo-Pacific region, and continues to have an abiding interest in cross-strait peace and stability.
The chairman mentioned that last week, the inaugural Taiwan-US Pacific Islands Dialogue attests to US support of Taiwan and its relationship with our allies in the Pacific and around the world. That is why we work to expand Taiwan's international space, build our economic and people-to-people ties, and maintain close security cooperation, he said, and then recalled President Tsai's National Day speech on October 10, when she said that Taiwan has become the first line of defense for democratic values.
The United States is deeply troubled by the unrelenting political, economic, and military pressure that the People's Republic of China is exerting on Taiwan, said Chairman Moriarty. The United States is opposed to all unilateral attempts to alter the status quo because they undermine the regional framework that has enabled peace, stability, and development for decades, he added.
Taiwan's transformation from an island ruled by martial law to a beacon of democracy is one of the great achievements of our era, the chairman said, and that hard won accomplishment by the people of Taiwan must be sustained.
Chairman Moriarty also emphasized that as a democratic success story and a force for good in the world, Taiwan is a natural partner of the United States. He closed by saying we should work together now and into the future to build on the enduring foundation of the TRA and to achieve further advances across many dimensions of our partnership.
Also in attendance was AIT Taipei Office Director William Brent Christensen.