On the morning of May 19, President Tsai Ing-wen met with United Kingdom Member of Parliament and former Prime Minister Elizabeth Truss. In remarks, President Tsai said that by acting in solidarity, democracies around the globe will make one another stronger, extending and broadening the reach of the values of freedom and democracy. The president also emphasized that Taiwan will walk shoulder to shoulder with the United Kingdom on the path of freedom and democracy to make even greater contributions to prosperity around the world.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
This is Ms. Truss's first trip to Taiwan. After visits from Margaret Thatcher, Ms. Truss, you are the second former UK prime minister to visit our country, and I am delighted to meet with you here at the Presidential Office. Building on the efforts of successive generations, we look forward to Taiwan-UK relations continuing to strengthen and flourish.
Let me here extend a very warm welcome to you. I also want to thank you for your longstanding support for Taiwan's international participation and for paying close heed to security across the Taiwan Strait. During your tenure as foreign secretary, you encouraged the G7 and NATO to publicly emphasize on multiple occasions the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. I want to acknowledge and thank the United Kingdom for elevating the Taiwan Strait issue from a regional to a global matter.
Taiwan and the United Kingdom are like-minded partners working together to advance freedom and democracy around the world. A few days ago, you and I both participated in the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, where we saw you underscore the importance of cooperation among global democracies in the face of authoritarian expansionism.
This is a message that Taiwan has long sought to share with the world. I firmly believe that by acting in solidarity, democracies around the globe will make one another stronger, extending and broadening the reach of our values of freedom and democracy.
In recent years, Taiwan and the United Kingdom have enjoyed fruitful cooperation across a range of sectors. Looking ahead, we hope to initiate even more collaboration and exchanges in such areas as supply chain resilience, cybersecurity, and technological innovation, as well as joint efforts to advance the signing of a trade and investment agreement to further deepen our economic and trade relations.
In closing, I welcome you once again. Taiwan will walk shoulder to shoulder with the United Kingdom on the path of freedom and democracy to make even greater contributions to prosperity around the world.
Ms. Truss then delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:
Thank you very much President Tsai for welcoming me here to Taiwan. And it's very nice to meet all of your colleagues as well. I’ve felt very, very warmly welcomed throughout the week I've been here. I've spent my time here listening and meeting ministers and understanding the situation here in Taiwan.
I've been very impressed by the economic achievements of Taiwan – your very strong growth rate, your leadership in critical industries. It's no understatement to say that Taiwan powers the modern world.
And it's even more impressive that you have managed to achieve this, under your brave leadership, despite the fact that there have been intimidating efforts by the People's Republic of China. The UK is very clear that we need to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. We are facing an increasing struggle between democracies and autocracies. I'm very clear that free democracies provide the best way for society and benefit people. They lead to greater wealth and prosperity, but also greater happiness.
What has been achieved here in Taiwan must be protected. And the international community and international free democracies must support you in your endeavors. I'm very clear that we have to make sure Taiwan is able to defend itself. But we also need to ensure that we're continuing to build economic links and positive relationships with free democracies like the United Kingdom.
I want to see the development of an economic NATO, where countries that are like-minded and support freedom and democracy work together economically to challenge coercion by authoritarian regimes. I'm very much looking forward to this meeting to talk more about how we can work together in pursuit of freedom and democracy. And thank you very much for the very warm welcome I've had here in Taiwan.
Before their meeting, President Tsai accompanied Ms. Truss to an exhibition on the cultures of Taiwan's indigenous peoples called "Kemasi Maza" ("starting from here" in the indigenous Paiwan language) and the gift shop on the first floor of the Presidential Office as well as the Rainbow Room on the third floor. Ms. Truss left this message on the exhibition's comment wall: "Celebrating freedom and democracy in Taiwan."