On the morning of December 20, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation from the United States House of Representatives led by Representative John Curtis. Stating that Taiwan will continue to cooperate with the US and other like-minded partners to ensure stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, President Tsai called upon our friends in the US Congress to keep supporting measures to strengthen Taiwan's security. She expressed hope that Taiwan and the US can work under our Initiative on 21st-Century Trade to negotiate and sign a high-standard trade agreement with the US, which can serve as a model for the region. The president also called upon the US representatives present to keep supporting Taiwan's bid to participate in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), expressing confidence that Taiwan can contribute even more to regional trade and economic development.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
The representatives here today are all good friends who have lent their strong support to Taiwan in the US Congress. Representative Curtis, leader of the delegation, once worked as a missionary in Taiwan and has deep connections to our country. I also want to give a warm welcome to Representatives Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Burgess Owens, and Michelle Steel, who are all visiting Taiwan for the first time. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I would like to wish you all a happy holidays and to express my sincere thanks for your visit, which comes just ahead of Christmas and serves as a concrete demonstration of your support for Taiwan.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank the US Congress for its longstanding support for Taiwan. The House and Senate both recently passed the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which endorses military sales to Taiwan. By backing this legislation and speaking out publicly in support of Taiwan, Congress is upholding the US security commitment to Taiwan and helping Taiwan defend democracy.
In the face of global authoritarian expansion, Taiwan will continue to cooperate with the US and other like-minded partners to ensure stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. I would like to ask our friends in the US Congress to keep supporting measures to strengthen Taiwan's security.
I know that all of you closely follow energy and climate change issues, and I very much appreciate your support for Taiwan's participation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Over the past few years, Taiwan has accelerated development of renewable energy sources. And to reach our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, our government this past March published a pathway to reach that objective, with a concrete action plan spanning 12 key strategies expected to be announced by the end of this year.
Taiwan and the United States have ample room for cooperation on these two important issues. We look forward to working with the US to help countries in the region strengthen their resilience to climate change and jointly promote the development of renewable energy.
In terms of trade, the first round of meetings under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade concluded successfully last month. Through this initiative, we hope to negotiate and sign a high-standard trade agreement with the US, which can serve as a model for the region. I would also like to ask the representatives here today to keep supporting Taiwan's bid to participate in the IPEF. We are confident that Taiwan can contribute even more to regional trade and economic development.
Once again, welcome to Taiwan. This has been a fruitful year for Taiwan-US ties. As we move into 2023, I look forward to working with you to further strengthen our bilateral relationship.
Speaking in Mandarin, US Representative Curtis thanked President Tsai for welcoming the delegation and said he is honored to have the opportunity to meet. He then delivered remarks in English, a transcript of which follows:
When I was here in Taiwan 40 years ago, Taiwan was very different.
I arrived just after the end of the [US-Taiwan] mutual defense treaty and the switch of formal diplomatic recognition [as well as] the passage of the Taiwan Relations Act. Although this could have been very difficult on US-Taiwan relations, I was very pleased by how warmly received I was by the people of Taiwan.
When I first arrived in Taiwan, Taiwan was not a democracy. Since then, Taiwan has become a strong and vibrant democracy, with its seventh consecutive direct [presidential] election in 2020. Congratulations.
Among other things that have changed, when I first arrived in Taiwan, it took me several hours to travel to Taichung. This time, we took your [high] speed train in minutes. When I lived in Taichung, I could ride my bike from one end of the city to the other end of the city. That's not possible today.
Also, when I was in Taiwan, Taiwan was known as the "Christmas light capital of the world," and provided Christmas lights to the United States. In contrast, today, Taiwan provides chips [made] in modern factories to the entire world.
Sometimes, when you see change day by day, it's hard to see the whole progress. But my 40-year absence has given me a very clear look into the progress and prosperity of Taiwan.
With my colleagues, we're very pleased to come here and represent 435 members of Congress from all 50 states. And we bring you a message that I hope you already know – that the prosperity of Taiwan is a bipartisan, bicameral issue important to all of us. And together, we come to better understand our role and how we can play a part in that.
We look forward to further discussions with you, and on behalf of all of us, let me express my great appreciation for the tremendous hospitality that we have received during our visit.