On the morning of August 26, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by US Senator Marsha Blackburn. In remarks, the president said that democratic countries must firmly defend our values of freedom and democracy, while collaborating and standing united in the face of authoritarian countries' disruptions and threats to the global order. President Tsai also expressed hope that international democratic partners will deepen economic cooperation to jointly create more resilient and secure supply chains and bolster regional stability and prosperity.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
Senator Blackburn has been an important and close friend of Taiwan ever since she began serving as a member of the House of Representatives. She also visited our country in 2008. I am delighted to welcome Senator Blackburn to Taiwan again 14 years later. Especially at this key moment, making the long journey to Taiwan is a concrete demonstration of strong support from the US Congress. This means a great deal to us.
In recent times, many public figures from a broad spectrum of US society have visited Taiwan. These warm acts of kindness and demonstrations of firm support have reinforced Taiwan's determination to defend itself. On behalf of all the people of Taiwan, I would like to extend a warm welcome and express our sincere gratitude to Senator Blackburn.
Senator Blackburn is an important force of resolute support for Taiwan in the US Congress. Recently, she introduced legislation to strengthen US backing for the enhancement of Taiwan's self-defense capabilities. We look forward to working hand-in-hand with the United States and other like-minded democracies to safeguard peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Lately, there have been major shifts in the global landscape. These include Russia's invasion of Ukraine and China continuing its prolonged military exercises. These developments demonstrate how authoritarian countries are disrupting and threatening the world order. That is exactly why democracies must further unite and cooperate in jointly holding a firm line of defense of our values of freedom and democracy.
Aside from issues of regional security, international partners that share democratic values must also deepen economic and trade cooperation, working together to create more secure and resilient supply chains. I am aware that Senator Blackburn has long prioritized the issue of semiconductor supply chain security. She is also an advocate of the SelectUSA program, which encourages more semiconductor businesses to invest in the United States.
Taiwan has built up a wealth of experience in developing its semiconductor industry. We are delighted to see many semiconductor businesses invest in the United States. We also look forward to working with the United States to strengthen cooperation on semiconductors and other high-tech sectors, and jointly respond to the economic challenges of the post-pandemic era.
Just last week, Taiwan and the United States simultaneously announced the commencement of formal talks on the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade. I am confident that through this platform, we can continue to comprehensively deepen Taiwan-US economic and trade relations. At the same time, it is our wish to be further integrated into the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity and other regional economic cooperation architecture. We hope to jointly establish high-standard economic norms and bolster regional stability and prosperity.
In closing, I wish you all a successful trip. Thank you.
Senator Blackburn then delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:
Thank you, Madam President, and thank you so much for receiving us today. We are so appreciative of your time and of your kindness in inviting us to join you. I am looking forward to a wonderful visit, and yes, indeed, I do remember my visit fondly in 2008 and the opportunity to get to see some of your country firsthand.
You are so accurate when you mention the shared values that we have – loving freedom, loving democracy – and it is important, indeed, that freedom-loving nations support Taiwan as they seek to preserve their independence and their freedom. And I'm looking forward to a conversation where we can discuss those issues.
In Tennessee, we have much of our nation's auto manufacturing. And you mentioned the semiconductor issue – that is something that is very important to us. We appreciate the fact that so many of our auto manufacturers do call Tennessee home, and that creates good-paying jobs for our citizens. So the supply chain issues that surround our critical supply chain and that infrastructure are vitally important to us.
We also appreciate the SelectUSA program, and the opportunity for us to partner in how we make certain that our manufacturers have the supply chain stability that they need in order to supply automobiles for the United States.
Thank you again for your time, [and] thank you to your team for helping to accommodate us. We look forward to continuing to help and support Taiwan as they push forward as an independent nation.
The delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office by American Institute in Taiwan Taipei Office Director Sandra Oudkirk.