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President Tsai addresses Ketagalan Forum - 2021 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue
President Tsai addresses Ketagalan Forum - 2021 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue

On the morning of August 31, President Tsai Ing-wen addressed the Ketagalan Forum - 2021 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue via video. Stating that Taiwan can become a key force for the advancement of regional peace and prosperity, and that it is willing to bear its share of responsibility for ensuring regional stability, President Tsai expressed hope that Taiwan will maintain a peaceful, stable, and mutually beneficial coexistence with its neighbors while resolutely defending democracy and our way of life. The president further emphasized that Taiwan's effective pandemic response, as well as its assistance to and cooperation with countries around the world, all highlight our country's importance and the leading role that Taiwan can play.

A transcript of President Tsai's remarks follows:

First, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to you all for participating in this year's Ketagalan Forum.

And, thank you very much, Ambassador [Kelly] Craft, for staying up late to be with us live.

This year, we are meeting virtually once again, as countries around the world work continuously to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

And even though our effort to combat the pandemic remains, there are still issues important to the region and the world that require our attention and joint efforts to resolve.

Issues such as "how to deal with challenges to the Indo-Pacific's liberal order," "how to respond to gray zone coercion in the East and South China Seas," and "reconfiguring globalization and building trusted supply chains."

This year's Ketagalan Forum will facilitate discussions on these essential issues, as we move towards a post-pandemic future.

The Indo-Pacific is the world's fastest growing region. It offers myriad opportunities in areas like trade, research, manufacturing, and education. The stability of this region offers reassurance to the development of the global economy and international security. And it has a pivotal role to play in defining the course of the 21st century.

The Indo-Pacific's emergence is also accompanied by newly developed tensions and systemic contradictions. The rise of a more assertive authoritarianism is the driver of such friction and poses the most serious challenge.

Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, authoritarian regimes are now more convinced that their alternative model of governance is better adapted than the liberal democratic order.

Despite this worrisome trend, Taiwan continues to thrive and be part of the solution for an international community that is still trying to find its post-pandemic footing, while tackling hurdles such as climate change, emerging diseases, non-proliferation, terrorism, and secure supply chains.

With the revival of QUAD and the EU's proposed EU-Asia Connectivity Strategy, which advocates for a sustainable, comprehensive, and rules-based approach to connectivity, Taiwan is well positioned to serve as an indispensable partner in democratic renewal and in sectors such as biotechnology, renewable energy, and the semiconductor industry.

Not only that, Taiwan is committed to working with regional actors to ensure regional stability. We are willing to shoulder our share of the burden, and we will not take our security partners' cavalry for granted.

And our effort doesn't end here. Taiwan is also fully committed to collaborating with its neighbors to prevent armed conflict in the Taiwan Strait and the East and South China Seas.

While we don't seek military confrontation, and hope for peaceful, stable and beneficial existence with our neighbors, we will always defend our democracy and way of life.

Taiwan's high-tech sector, especially its leading edge in the semiconductor sector, will be a crucial component in creating a secure global supply chain that protects critical technologies from exploitation.

Besides this, Taiwan has an innovative role to play in high-precision manufacturing, artificial intelligence, 5G applications, renewable energy, biotech, and many other sectors, which can help create more diverse and resilient global supply chains that can withstand interruptions.

Moreover, Taiwan's soft power also lies in its experience and capabilities in education, human resource development, public health, medicine, and natural disaster prevention.

Our medical facilities are sharing their experience in medical technology and management with countries in the region to improve public health and medical care.

At this critical juncture, there are many new opportunities for Taiwan to play a constructive role. Taiwan can also be a crucial force in nurturing a network for the peaceful development and prosperity of our region.

Despite the trials and tribulations posed by the pandemic, the last two years were also exemplified by warmth, resilience, strength, friendship and partnership. As Taiwan donated material and provided assistance to the world at the onset of the pandemic, the world also came to Taiwan's aid with life-saving vaccines.

I want to take this opportunity to reiterate my deep appreciation to our like-minded friends, such as the United States, Japan, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, for coming to our aid during such a critical time.

The world has changed dramatically due to the outbreak, and the way we live our lives might be forever altered. While extraordinary challenges remain, I see democracies working to safeguard shared values and their institutions and serve the interests of the international community. Our belief in democracy and freedom has never been stronger.

Taiwan's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its assistance to and collaboration with countries around the world, have demonstrated the crucial role that Taiwan can play and why Taiwan matters.

Although we are faced with an arduous journey ahead, we see this as presenting Taiwan with opportunities we've never seen before. Time and again, we all were confronted by great challenges. But we have always been able to triumph by working together and believing in our shared values of freedom and democracy.

To conclude, I want to wish you all a successful dialogue. Thank you, Chairman [Mark Tan-Sun] Chen (陳唐山), for the invitation to speak.

And lastly, I want to extend an invitation to Ambassador Craft and all the participants to come to Taiwan when the pandemic recedes, so that you can witness the beauty of Taiwan in person.


Since 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Taiwanese think tanks have co-organized the annual Ketagalan Forum - Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue to discuss important regional security issues with concerned parties in an effort to enhance cooperation and communication. This year's event was co-organized with the Prospect Foundation and was held entirely online.

Among those who participated in the event were Prospect Foundation Chairman Mark Tan-Sun Chen, Deputy Foreign Minister Tien Chung-kwang (田中光), National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉), and Prospect Foundation President Lai I-Chung (賴怡忠). Former US Permanent Representative to the United Nations Kelly Craft delivered the opening keynote speech, and 16 political leaders and scholars from the United States, Japan, France, Australia, India, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines conducted in-depth panel discussions with Taiwanese officials, scholars, and experts. These panelists included: Randall Schriver, Chairman of the Project 2049 Institute; Makishima Karen, Member of the Japanese House of Representatives; Peter Jennings, Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute; Hyun Oh-seok, former Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea; and Bert Hofman, Director of the East Asia Institute of the National University of Singapore.

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