On the morning of February 2, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation from the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), a think tank based in the United States. In remarks, President Tsai said that in the face of expanding authoritarianism, Taiwan must strengthen its self-defense capabilities to ensure national security and to safeguard our values of freedom and democracy, adding that we have the determination, confidence, and ability to protect our homeland, and that we are also very willing to continue deepening cooperation with the US and other like-minded partners. The president said that Taiwan is a force for good that works to safeguard regional peace and uphold freedom and democracy. She also noted that in the new year, we will continue to marshal our strength in order to contribute to regional prosperity and development.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
I welcome you all to Taiwan. In this first week following the Lunar New Year holiday, I am delighted to receive our good friends from the NBR once again at the Presidential Office. This delegation, led by Admiral Philip S. Davidson, marks the NBR's first visit to Taiwan since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to extend a most sincere welcome to you all. Admiral Davidson closely followed the security situation in the Taiwan Strait during his tenure as Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command. Since stepping down from the post, he has continued to urge the US to carefully monitor cross-strait issues. I would like to take this opportunity to convey a special thanks to Admiral Davidson for his contributions to security in the Taiwan Strait.
The NBR has long paid close attention to, and frequently publishes in-depth analyses of, security issues in the Indo-Pacific region. All of today's guests have academic backgrounds related to such issues. I believe that through your visit, Taiwan and the US will be able to engage in even more robust exchanges of views on security issues in the Indo-Pacific.
In the face of expanding authoritarianism, Taiwan must strengthen its self-defense capabilities to ensure national security and to safeguard our values of freedom and democracy. Thus, with enhancing all-out national defense as our strategic goal, we have announced plans to realign our nation's military forces. Starting next year, we will reinstate a one-year term of mandatory military service and enhance training content and capacity.
We have the determination, the confidence, and the ability to protect our homeland. We are also very willing to continue deepening our cooperation with the US and other like-minded partners.
For example, in addition to stepping up military exchanges, Taiwan and the US have continued to bolster economic and trade cooperation. Last month, a new round of meetings was held on the Taiwan-US Initiative on 21st-Century Trade. Overall, trade between Taiwan and the US will benefit from streamlined customs clearance and verification procedures. A number of bilateral mechanisms and platforms will be established to allow both Taiwan and the US to resolve trade and investment issues more efficiently.
We look forward to building closer cooperation between Taiwan and the US in such fields as supply chains, telecommunications security, and science and technology. Such cooperation can spur even more progress for Taiwan, the US, the region, and the world.
Taiwan is a force for good that works to safeguard regional peace and uphold freedom and democracy. In the new year, we will continue to marshal our strength to contribute to regional prosperity and development. You are all experts in your respective fields, and your invaluable views are important points of reference for us. I thank you for your visit and wish you all a successful trip.
Admiral Davidson then delivered remarks, first thanking the president for her remarks and the warm welcome. He added that it is a pleasure and honor to be here, and thanked the NBR for organizing the delegation and taking him on his very first visit to Taiwan. He said that at the start of the trip, he told his colleagues he has come to listen and learn from his hosts in Taiwan, and that thus far on his visit he has done both, explaining that he has had productive and compelling discussions with members of the US government, Taiwan government, and the think tank community here in Taipei.
Admiral Davidson emphasized that their discussions over the past few days have underscored Taiwan's vibrant democracy and civil society, addressed the range of actions that the PRC takes toward Taiwan, and highlighted areas in which the US and Taiwan can continue to foster and strengthen our relationship.
Admiral Davidson also noted that he has been able to observe on this trip the energy of Taipei, the ongoing construction and the robustness of its industry, the spirit of the Taiwan armed forces, and the extraordinary kindness with which the people of Taiwan have greeted the delegation.
Admiral Davidson expressed that he is looking forward to continuing discussions today with President Tsai and learning from her about Taiwan's democracy and development, as well as to hearing her perspectives on the security environment and her outlook on US-Taiwan relations. In closing, Admiral Davidson stated on behalf of the NBR and the delegation that they are thrilled and honored to be in Taiwan.