On the evening of September 20 (morning of the same day in New York, the summit venue), President Tsai Ing-wen addressed the 2023 Concordia Annual Summit via video at the invitation of the non-profit organization Concordia.
In remarks, President Tsai said that Taiwan is a key partner to the international democratic community and holds a central position in global supply chains. She stated that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are in the interests of us all, and expressed her gratitude to the many countries that have vocally supported Taiwan's international participation, because with greater inclusion, Taiwan can do even more to advance sustainable development and global well-being.
President Tsai emphasized that Taiwan's security and international participation are about more than just safeguarding our common economic interests and fostering progress, they are also about defending the universal values of freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights that are integral to our well-being. By standing together and holding fast to our ideals, the president said that we can overcome the challenges in front of us and spur greater progress for the whole world.
A transcript of President Tsai's speech follows:
I want to begin by thanking Concordia for inviting me to address the Annual Summit again. It is an honor to be speaking alongside so many esteemed leaders sharing their perspectives on pressing global issues.
Addressing these issues requires broad-based collaboration, especially at a time when conflict and instability can spread at an alarming rate. This has become painfully clear in recent human tragedies, such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of which are still felt across the globe.
While these challenges may at times appear daunting, I believe it is crucial that we remain hopeful. That is why I am so glad to once again be speaking at the Concordia Annual Summit, a gathering focused on finding solutions to the problems of our time.
The themes of this year's summit help shed light on the path forward. They highlight the importance of democracy, global security, and human rights in fostering social progress, an issue that cannot be more relevant to Taiwan's agenda.
Indeed, our commitment to upholding democracy, security, and human rights lies at the heart of everything we do. And our international engagement is driven by cooperation with allies and like-minded partners that share our democratic values.
In addition to being a key partner to the international democratic community, Taiwan holds a key position in global supply chains. Taiwan is where 90 percent of the world's most advanced semiconductors are produced, while around half of the world's container ships pass through the Taiwan Strait each year.
This makes Taiwan's security and that of the broader region all the more critical, as any disruption in the Taiwan Strait could ripple across the world, just as we have witnessed in the wake of major events in recent years. The fact is that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are in the interests of us all.
It is therefore concerning that the security of Taiwan and the region faces increasing challenges. Every day, our authoritarian neighbor initiates millions of cyberattacks as well as frequent military exercises and other forms of gray-zone activities as a way to apply maximum pressure on Taiwan and its friends.
As Taiwan bears the brunt of these relentless threats, we know that we must also be relentless in our efforts to maintain peace and protect our hard-earned democracy. But we also know that to address China's increasingly aggressive actions and ensure stability in our region and the world, international cooperation is imperative.
We have been heartened to see that many world leaders share our concern. UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated this year that the UN will do all it can to help ease tensions in the Taiwan Strait. While just last month, the leaders of the US, Japan, and Korea reiterated that peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait are indispensable to the security and prosperity of the international community.
We are also very grateful to the many countries that have vocally supported Taiwan's international participation. With greater inclusion, Taiwan can do even more to advance sustainable development and global well-being.
But Taiwan's security and international participation are about more than just safeguarding our common economic interests and fostering progress. They are also about defending the universal values of freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights that are integral to our well-being. We must not waver in our commitment to these values, no matter how challenging the road ahead may seem.
At a time when we are witnessing widespread democratic backsliding, we should not forget how far democracy has come. Taiwan overcame decades of authoritarian rule and martial law to realize democracy. That Taiwan enjoys such a robust democracy today should be a source of encouragement to everyone pushing back against the worrying trend of expanding authoritarianism that threatens our security.
By standing together and holding fast to our ideals, I believe we can overcome the challenges in front of us and spur greater progress for the whole world.
That is why gatherings such as this are so important. They give us the chance to come together and envision a way forward. And I look forward to us all working together to bring about a more secure and prosperous future for all.
The Concordia Annual Summit brings together national leaders attending the UN General Assembly in New York, high-level UN officials, leaders from international organizations and civil society, and representatives from industry, academia, and politics. The eight themes of this year's summit are: cultural diplomacy and youth advocacy; democracy, security, and geopolitical risk; environmental sustainability; financial inclusion; global trade, manufacturing, and supply chains; health opportunities and challenges; human rights and social progress; and innovative technology.
Among those who addressed the summit were President Santiago Peña Palacios of the Republic of Paraguay, President Guillermo Lasso of the Republic of Ecuador, First Lady Monica Geingos of the Republic of Namibia, former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović of the Republic of Croatia, former President Kersti Kaljulaid of the Republic of Estonia, former Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, and Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union Doreen Bogdan-Martin.