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Press conference following the 2020 APEC meetings and Economic Leaders' Meeting
Press conference following the 2020 APEC meetings and Economic Leaders' Meeting

The Presidential Office held a press conference on the afternoon of November 21 following the 2020 APEC and Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM). Accompanied by Minister without Portfolio John C. C. Deng (鄧振中), National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉), and Senior Official for APEC and Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of International Organization Director-General Bob L.J. Chen (陳龍錦), Leader's Representative Morris Chang shared an overview of the APEC meetings, and the results achieved during the Ministerial Meetings and the AELM with the Taiwanese people, and then took questions from reporters.

During his address, Leader's Representative Chang noted that 21 member economies participated in the 2020 AELM, where he delivered a three-minute English address describing for APEC members how Taiwan has controlled the COVID-19 pandemic, and our status in the digital economy, as directed by President Tsai at a press conference last week designating him as Taiwan's Leader's Representative. Each representative was limited to three minutes of speaking time, which was exactly the length of his self-written English address.

Leader's Representative Chang also shared the address he delivered at the AELM yesterday. The following is the full text of the address:

Although I regret not being able to meet face-to-face with you this year, still we must thank the digital technology that has allowed us to have this on-line conference.

Chinese Taipei has been fortunate in containing the spread of COVID-19.  In a population of 23.5 million, Chinese Taipei has had only 611 confirmed cases and seven deaths as of today.  On the economic front, Chinese Taipei launched timely bailout and stimulus packages, and sustained our economic development.  GDP growth for the entire year 2020 is expected to be above positive 1.5%.

We believe digital technology played an important role in our success to control the pandemic. Almost everyone in Chinese Taipei carries a mobile phone. The GPS information on the phone allows the medical authorities to trace the recent contacts of a COVID-19 patient, and the exposed people are quickly quarantined. Digital technology has also helped to establish a mask-rationing plan.

Life has almost returned to normal in Chinese Taipei, except for still strictly limited overseas travel. We fervently hope that in the not-too-distant future, overseas travel will return to the pre-COVID status.

What about post-COVID?

We believe that digital technology will play an increasingly important part in our work, leisure, and healthcare. Artificial intelligence, a branch of digital technology, will not only increase the efficiency of our medical doctors, but in fact will improve the efficacy of healthcare. This is not a dream. It is already happening!

No economy has a complete digital technology supply chain. In fact, no economy can afford it and still be internationally competitive. Chinese Taipei, however, has a fairly significant segment of it, starting with semiconductor manufacturing equipment, semiconductor design and manufacturing, all the way down to system engineering and assembly.

In the post-pandemic digital era, Chinese Taipei is willing to share our successful experiences, and look forward to cooperating with APEC member economies to bring forth a bright and healthy digital future.

Leader's Representative Chang then responded to questions from the media. When asked if representatives from other countries mentioned Taiwan's pandemic response, he responded that there was no interaction between representatives at this meeting, with participants speaking one at a time, while speaking time was also strictly monitored. Interaction only took place when the meeting chair introduced the next speaker and delivered a brief closing summary after each representative's address. So, none of the participants aside from Leader's Representative Chang mentioned Taiwan's pandemic containment performance.

The media also asked about what Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said during the virtual meeting discussions. Leader's Representative Chang responded by saying, “That did, indeed, happen.” Singapore has already made it known that in Prime Minister Lee's presentation and remarks, he mentioned that at APEC 2018, the two men had tea together, but because last year's APEC meetings were cancelled, they had not met again since then.  

Addressing how Taiwan and APEC members can maintain and sustain the resiliency of technology supply chains, Leader's Representative Chang noted that in the private sector, there are at least several dozen enterprises that are critical to the digital economy and digital technology, but they are just part of the supply chains. Maintaining strong supply chains depends on those enterprises, especially large enterprises, continuing to maintain and enhance their competitiveness.

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