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President Tsai addresses Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2022
President Tsai addresses Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2022

On June 10, at the invitation of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation (AoD), President Tsai Ing-wen addressed the Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2022 via video, delivering a speech titled "Taiwan: An Integral Partner of the Global Democratic Alliance."

In her remarks, President Tsai said that we in Taiwan are eager to share our experience in countering authoritarian influence, and are ready to strengthen our collaboration with like-minded countries to safeguard the liberal democratic world order and maintain regional peace and security. The president stated that, despite growing threats, Taiwan, like Ukraine, will not bend to pressure, and expressed our determination to defend our country and our democratic way of life.

Observing that trade and investment cooperation will continue to be a key pillar of our collective resilience and response to authoritarianism, the president noted that Taiwan's high-tech sector can play a crucial part in creating a secure global supply chain, and said that Taiwan is ready to assume the role of an indispensable partner to Europe in key industrial sectors.

The following is a transcript of President Tsai's remarks, which she delivered in English:

I want to begin by thanking Mr. Rasmussen for inviting me to address this important gathering of democracy advocates again this year. I want to express my appreciation for your continued support for Taiwan and our democratic way of life.

I am also happy that members of Taiwan's civil society and legislature are in Copenhagen this year. I hope they can meet with you all, and share their experiences as frontline defenders of our democracy. As we move toward the post-COVID era and economic recovery, there are important issues and challenges that require our joint attention and efforts.

We must work together to answer key questions, that is:

How can democracies come together to stem the tide of authoritarianism?

How do we create an alliance of citizens and political, business, media, and civil society leaders to reinvigorate democratic institutions and protect our hard-earned freedoms?

And how can we utilize technology to assist and safeguard democracies and their advocates?

I am very glad to see this year's Copenhagen Democracy Summit is dedicated to facilitating discussions between representatives and advocates of democracies on these timely and vital issues.

In the past year, we observed increasing support and partnerships between Taiwan and the member states of the European Union. These partnerships have continued to flourish, because they are built on our shared values of democracy and freedom.

Just last month, a number of EU member states spoke out in support of Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly. I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks for all your support. I am also encouraged by the joint efforts made by our government and several European countries to substantiate our ever-closer partnerships.

Engaging Taiwan is not without pressure for our friends. Some of them have even been coerced economically. They, however, are undeterred. They have bravely stood up to authoritarian pressure. And their actions have deeply moved the Taiwanese people.

Neither threats nor coercion will shake our resolve to engage the world. Taiwan and its people stand ready to strengthen cooperation with democracies in Europe and across the world in any area where we share mutual interests.

Taiwan has been working diligently to combat authoritarian influence, because our embrace of democracy is at the heart of who we are. Imperfect though it may be, democracy has become a non-negotiable part of our identity.

This determination gives Taiwan the resilience to meet challenges head-on, and provides a firewall against both internal and external forces seeking to undermine our democratic institutions.

We are eager to share our experiences in countering authoritarian influence, and we are also ready to strengthen our collaboration with like-minded countries to safeguard the liberal democratic world order.

Trade and investment cooperation will continue to be a key pillar of our collective resilience and response to authoritarianism. Following its Europe-Asia connectivity strategy announced in 2018, the EU last year launched the Global Gateway. Taiwan is keen to take part in the grand strategies of connectivity that support quality infrastructure and investment while linking goods, people, and services around the world.

Furthermore, with the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific having pledged to strengthen cooperation with Taiwan, we are ready to assume the role of an indispensable partner to Europe, not only in democratic unity and renewal, but in various key industrial sectors. For example, Taiwan's high-tech sector can play a crucial part in creating a secure global supply chain that protects critical technologies from authoritarian exploitation.

But as we know, the threats posed by authoritarianism are not confined to theft, pressure, or coercion. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has shown us once again that these regimes will stop at nothing in the pursuit of their expansionist goals.

This is why I commend this summit for dedicating its second day to the issues of how to defend Ukraine and build an alliance of democracies.  

The Ukrainians' bravery in defending their territory and democracy serves as an inspiration to us all. And Taiwan is proud to have played a part in the collective efforts to assist the Ukrainians in their noble struggle.

As we watch images from half a world away, of atrocities committed against another democracy on the frontlines of authoritarian expansionism, I would like to stress that, like Ukraine, Taiwan will not bend to pressure. Despite growing threats, we are determined to defend our country and our democratic way of life, and we are confident that our determination will, like Ukraine, rally fellow democracies to our cause.

In other words, the maintenance of our democracy and regional peace and security will remain a top priority for Taiwan. And we are committed to working with regional and global partners to achieve that.

Since our last meeting, it seems the challenges we are faced with have become even more profound. While we work to prevent waves of infections from COVID-19 variants, we must counter threats from authoritarian regimes and war. But even in such tough times, we should be proud that we have dealt with these issues with resilience, strength, and partnership. Taiwan donated supplies and provided assistance to Europe at the outset of the pandemic, and our European friends donated much-needed vaccines to Taiwan.

Before I conclude, I want to again express my deepest gratitude to our like-minded friends across Europe, particularly Lithuania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland, for coming to Taiwan's aid during a very critical time.

Taiwan's democracy, similar to many European democracies, was built on the sacrifices of those who fought against authoritarianism. We have come a long way, so we have a shared understanding of how difficult it is to realize democracy. While we will surely face great challenges in the future, I am confident that, by working together, standing united, and believing in the values of democracy and freedom, we will always achieve our goals.

Lastly, I wish you all a successful summit and productive discussions. Thank you very much.

As the host of the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, the Alliance of Democracies Foundation is an NGO founded in 2017 by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former prime minister of Denmark and former North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) secretary general. The foundation held the inaugural Copenhagen Democracy Summit in 2018.

This year's Copenhagen Democracy Summit was held in person from June 9 to June 10, and was attended by senior executives from multinational technology companies, political leaders, civil society activists, and other democracy advocates, who gathered to discuss technology and democracy, the global democratic alliance, countering authoritarianism, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and other pressing global issues. Among those who addressed the summit were former President Barack Obama of the United States, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė of Lithuania, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană, and Microsoft President Brad Smith. Attendees included political leaders from the US, Germany, the UK, Ukraine, India, and Denmark, as well as technology industry leaders and representatives from think tanks, civil society groups, and the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. Guests attended the summit in person or through videoconference or pre-recorded remarks.

Those from Taiwan who attended this year's Copenhagen Democracy Summit in person were Legislators Freddy Lim (林昶佐), Fan Yun (范雲), Hsieh Yi-fong (謝衣鳳), Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠), and Claire Wang (王婉諭), as well as many civil society representatives. 


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