On the morning of December 17, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by Brett P. Reistad, National Commander of the American Legion. In the meeting, she detailed important points in the promotion of veterans affairs in Taiwan, and expressed hope for close Taiwan-US ties and strengthened military and security cooperation.
In remarks, President Tsai opened by stating that the American Legion and its Auxiliary combined boast more than two million members and wield considerable influence in the United States. Their views on key policies are also highly valued by the US government.
The president pointed out that our Veterans Affairs Council and the American Legion have conducted exchanges for over half a century, and enjoy a longstanding and robust friendship. In particular, the complete system developed by the United States for taking care of veterans serves as an important reference for Taiwan's efforts in this area.
President Tsai also mentioned that the Department of Veterans Affairs is the second-largest US federal government agency behind the Department of Defense, and provides comprehensive services to veterans. She stated that the US government's devotion to veterans affairs is truly admirable.
The president emphasized that in order to provide more complete care for veterans, Taiwan's government continues to improve its veteran affairs system in two major ways. The first improvement is strengthening the employment counseling program, so that veterans can continue to make use of their skills and contribute to society in various sectors. The government will bolster this program by assigning it a greater share of the total budget.
The president continued by saying that the second improvement focuses on enhancing medical care and long-term care services for veterans. The Veterans Affairs Council, which best understands their circumstances and needs, can play a critical role in establishing a long-term care network for veterans. By integrating hospitals and care facilities under the Veterans Affairs Council, we can build a more extensive medical services network, so that elderly veterans and their families can enjoy an even higher quality of health care.
President Tsai expressed heartfelt gratitude for the American Legion's longstanding support for Taiwan, especially in the form of submitting resolutions in favor of Taiwan and for urging the US government to strengthen military and security cooperation with Taiwan. She expressed hope for continued close bilateral exchanges, and wished the delegation a successful trip.
The delegation included American Legion National Commander Brett P. Reistad and Executive Director Louis Celli.