On the morning of November 7, Vice President Chen Chien-jen met with a delegation of journalists from the 2017 Asia Pacific Journalism Fellowship program organized by the East-West Center in Hawaii, USA. The vice president expressed hope that Taiwan and the US will work together to continue enhancing our bilateral friendship and mutually beneficial relationship.
In remarks, Vice President Chen stated that since 1998 the East-West Center has cooperated with Taiwan's universities and institutions, and regularly invited US media delegations to visit Taiwan. As of the end of 2016, they have hosted 12 delegations, bringing over 70 journalists to Taiwan. The Asia Pacific Journalism Fellowship program affords the US public a deeper understanding of Taiwan.
The vice president said that the East-West Center aims to promote better understanding among the peoples of the US and nations in the Asia-Pacific, and provide analysis and information on issues of shared regional concern. It is an invaluable information and public policy resource in the region, and an important institution in the US to promote public diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region. Vice President Chen expressed gratitude for the Center's longstanding effort to promote exchanges between the US and the Asia-Pacific region.
Vice President Chen pointed out that Taiwan spares no effort in protecting and enhancing political and press freedom. Taiwan has been rated as a free country for the 18th consecutive year in the Freedom in the World 2017 report released by US human rights organization Freedom House. Meanwhile, Reporters without Borders, in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index, ranked Taiwan first in Asia and 45th globally, up 6 spots from 2016. The organization also established its first Asia bureau and East Asia administrative office in Taiwan on July 18.
The vice president emphasized that the US is one of the world's most important democracies, and Taiwan's staunch partner in the international community. The relationship between Taiwan and the US is based on the common values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, as well as a market-based economy. He said that Taiwan will continue to be a close, reliable partner of the US in the region and around the world. Vice President Chen expressed confidence that the concerted efforts of the two countries will help enhance our cordial and mutually beneficial relationship. He also reiterated our country's commitment to its relationship with the US, and the importance we attach to it. In the future, said the vice president, Taiwan will work with all sectors in the US to make bilateral relations even stronger.
Vice President Chen also mentioned that during her latest state visit to our Pacific diplomatic allies, President Tsai Ing-wen made transit stops in Honolulu on the outbound leg and Guam on the return. This shows the close ties between Taiwan and the US. He then stated that we look forward to strengthening bilateral relations, and are confident we can do that.
In closing, Vice President Chen once again thanked the East-West Center and Shih Hsin University for arranging this exchange. He also wished the visitors a smooth and successful trip.
Included in the delegation were: Owen Ullmann (Managing Editor for World Coverage, USA TODAY); Adam Taylor (Staff Writer, The Washington Post); Robbie Gramer (Reporter, Foreign Policy); Nishant Dahiya (Asia Editor, National Public Radio); Tom Barton (Editorial Page Editor, Savannah Morning News); Stephanie Earls (Staff Reporter, The Gazette); and Maya Rodriguez (Miami-based Correspondent, National Broadcasting Company).