On the morning of May 18, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation from the Riksdag (Swedish parliament). In remarks, President Tsai thanked the Swedish government and the Riksdag for their support, and said that she looks forward to continuing to enhance Taiwan-Sweden economic and trade relations. She also expressed hope that the members of the delegation will give their strong support for a Taiwan-EU bilateral investment agreement, which would enable Taiwan and the European Union to deepen cooperation. President Tsai stated that Taiwan will continue to stand firmly with its democratic partners to strengthen economic ties and enhance democratic resilience, and that Taiwan will also continue to help safeguard peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
When Mr. Markus Wiechel visited Taiwan in April last year, we met via videoconference. Today, it is a pleasure to be able to receive the delegation at the Presidential Office. This is the first delegation from the Riksdag to visit Taiwan this year. It is also the first time Mr. Wiechel has led a delegation to Taiwan since assuming the vice presidency of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I extend my sincerest welcome.
Over the past several years, Taiwan and Sweden have seen progress in numerous areas of cooperation. Last year, bilateral trade exceeded US$1.7 billion – a 12-percent increase from the previous year. We have also explored opportunities for further collaboration in domains such as climate change and supply chain security.
We look forward to continuing to enhance Taiwan-Sweden economic and trade relations. I hope that the members of the delegation will give their strong support for a Taiwan-EU bilateral investment agreement, which would enable Taiwan and the EU to deepen cooperation. It would also bolster the investment confidence of Taiwanese and European businesses.
In recent years, Taiwan has become a keyword in the international community. A growing number of people and countries are closely following issues related to Taiwan and supporting peace across the Taiwan Strait. For instance, in April last year, the Riksdag adopted a resolution supporting the continued strengthening of cooperation between Taiwan and Sweden across many domains. And last October, in his Statement of Government Policy, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson expressed concerns over China’s military threats toward Taiwan, underlying his support for peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan offers its sincere thanks to the Swedish government and the Riksdag for their support. I would like to reiterate that Taiwan is a force for good in the international community. Be it in global pandemic response, disaster relief, or supply chain security, Taiwan is a capable and trustworthy partner.
In the future, Taiwan will continue to stand firmly with its democratic partners to strengthen economic ties and enhance democratic resilience. Taiwan will also continue to help safeguard peace, stability, and mutual prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. In closing, I once again welcome the delegation to Taiwan. I wish you a pleasant and productive trip.
Mr. Wiechel then delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:
Madam President Tsai, first of all, on behalf of our whole Sweden Democrat delegation, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the incredible hospitality, the warmth, kindness, and openness that we have received since we arrived in Taiwan last Sunday. We are truly fortunate to have this possibility to visit this beautiful island and meet with Taiwanese citizens. We are also fortunate to have the possibility to meet with all the honorable ministers and other professionals who have offered their time for fruitful discussions and great remarks.
We have had the privilege to study your efficient healthcare system, and we have witnessed your impressive educational system and much more. It is obviously not just a coincidence that Taiwan is a world leading country in technological innovation and many other fields. Yesterday, the British former Prime Minister Liz Truss called Taiwan a beacon in the Pacific, and I couldn't agree more. It is, to say the least, not hard for me to say that I admire Taiwan and I admire the Taiwanese people, and I can assure you that what our delegation have seen has made us even more certain that we have a lot to learn from Taiwan and that we must increase our bilateral cooperation.
But we have also come here because we see the importance of like-minded democracies to work together, especially in times when authoritarian forces are getting stronger and more hostile. The free world must stand shoulder to shoulder. Taiwan might be a young democracy compared to Sweden, but it is none the less one of the strongest, most stable and well-functioning democracies in the world. You should be proud of this impressive achievement.
Sweden and Taiwan share a long range of central values – the belief in peace, freedom, and democracy; the right to universal human rights; the defense of justice; the belief of the rule of law. This is just the beginning, and I'm sure that we have so much more to gain by deepened cooperation in various fields.
The fact that Taiwan is excluded from a number of important international organizations – and this despite the fact that most of the free world consider Taiwan as a significant international player in trade, diplomacy, and democracy – is of course completely unacceptable. Therefore, me and other members of our political party have, on several occasions and in different arenas, raised importance of including Taiwan in various international organizations: such as the WHA [World Health Assembly], INTERPOL [International Criminal Police Organization], and the International Civil Aviation Organization.
We will continue to do so, and we will continue to stress the importance that friends of the free world, like Taiwan and Sweden, should work together. Once again, I am also honored to finally actually get to meet the president in person. And thank you so much for receiving us, and I look forward [to] a fruitful dialog in the future.
The delegation also included Riksdag Members Sara Gille, Nima Gholam Ali Pour, and Rasmus Giertz. The delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office by the Swedish Trade & Invest Council Representative Anders Wollter.