President Tsai meets British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group Delegation
On the afternoon of March 20, President Tsai Ing-wen met with members of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG). In remarks, President Tsai said that we anticipate that Taiwan and the United Kingdom will engage in even more cooperation and exchanges in safeguarding regional peace and many other areas of mutual interest. President Tsai also stated that she hopes that the UK's accession to the CPTPP proceeds smoothly, and that, given its disposition for maintaining high standards, the UK will support Taiwan's bid to join the trade bloc.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
I extend a very warm welcome to Chair [Bob] Stewart in leading this British-Taiwanese APPG delegation. This is the first trip to Taiwan by your group during the current parliamentary session. I believe that your visit will further advance exchanges between Taiwan and the United Kingdom.
In recent years, the British parliament has increased its support for Taiwan. Last February, at Mr. Stewart's initiative, the House of Commons held a debate on UK-Taiwan friendship and cooperation. During the debate, numerous Members of Parliament voiced their strong support for enhancing Taiwan-UK relations. And last November, a delegation from the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee visited Taiwan, demonstrating its high regard for our country.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Stewart for his enduring friendship with Taiwan. Indeed, we are very grateful for the staunch support that all of you have shown Taiwan. I also want to thank the UK for its frequent efforts since 2021 to use the G7 and other bilateral and multilateral platforms to emphasize the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We anticipate that Taiwan and the UK will engage in even more cooperation and exchanges in safeguarding regional peace and many other areas of mutual interest.
Over the years, the UK has been a key partner in the development of Taiwan's offshore wind power industry. Currently, over 30 UK offshore wind power companies have established operations and offices here in Taiwan. We believe that, in addition to the offshore wind power industry, Taiwan and the United Kingdom can complement each other in such domains as supply chain resiliency, cybersecurity, healthcare, and biotech to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
I hope that the UK's accession to the CPTPP proceeds smoothly. I also hope that, given its disposition for maintaining high standards, the UK will support Taiwan's bid to join the trade bloc. This would do much to further deepen the partnership between Taiwan and the UK.
In closing, thank you once again for your visit and for advancing cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and the UK. I wish you a smooth and successful visit and trust that you will return home with many fond memories of our people and culture.
Chair Stewart then delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:
Madam President, it is an honor to be here. Thank you so much for receiving us. I am the leader of six members of parliament: half are from the Conservative Party, and half are from the Labour Party. But all of us are really big friends of Taiwan.
Both countries have a similar situation. The United Kingdom is an island off the mainland of Europe. And Taiwan is an island off the mainland of Asia. Both of us have, well, not the same populations – your population is under half of the United Kingdom, but we have similar attitudes.
We are also very conscious that we come to a nation that is more democratic than the United Kingdom. The Economist list of democratic countries places the United Kingdom as number 18 in the world, and Taiwan is number 10. I think that shows how far democracy has come over the last 30 years in this country. In 30 years, Taiwan has come [on] an amazing journey. In 800 years, the United Kingdom has not as achieved as much. You are a beacon to how democracy can work in the world.
We are delighted that there is so much connection economically between Taiwan and the United Kingdom. And we are also delighted that so many Taiwanese people choose to live and work in the United Kingdom and [that] so many students from Taiwan come to our universities. And I'm hoping that the reverse is about to start happening.
May I end my short speech by repeating how honored we feel that you have spared us your time today. When I was last here in 2016, you could not meet us, which you kindly agreed to do, because you were doing your democratic duty, and you were visiting parts of Taiwan that had been deeply affected by the [typhoon] that was happening when we came.
I end by saying that your representative in London in 2016 gave us good advice. He said, you do not need a coat; it will be very warm and sunny in Taiwan when you arrive. We arrived in the middle of a [typhoon]. And the rain kept us in the hotel, the rain and the wind kept us in the hotel for two days. While you, Madam President, were doing everything you could for your people, by visiting them. It is an honor to be here. We are very, very grateful that you have received us. Thank you.
The visiting delegation also included Members of Parliament Rob Butler, Sarah Atherton, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, Afzal Khan, Marie Rimmer, as well as British-Taiwanese APPG Advisor Neil Cropper. The delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office by British Office Taipei Representative John Dennis.