On the afternoon of April 15, President Tsai Ing-wen attended the "TRA and AIT@40: Celebrating 40 Years of Friendship" reception hosted by the American Institute in Taiwan, where she expressed hope that Taiwan can continue working with the United States and other like-minded countries to face future challenges together.
A transcript of the president's remarks follows:
AIT Chairman [James F.] Moriarty, Director [William Brent] Christensen, Former Speaker [Paul] Ryan [former US House Speaker], Chairwoman [Eddie Bernice] Johnson [Chairwoman of the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology], Former President Ma [Ying-jeou] (馬英九), Speaker Su (蘇嘉全，Legislative Yuan Speaker Jia-chyuan Su), Members of the US Congress, friends and colleagues, and distinguished guests:
In his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson called for “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations.”
Today, we gather at the AIT's new home, opening a new chapter in the Taiwan-US relationship that ticks all the boxes described by President Jefferson. And we are also celebrating the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, a milestone in this special relationship.
I thank you, and many others who are not here today, for contributing to this enduring partnership between Taiwan and the United States, a partnership that has withstood the test of time.
And I would be remiss if I did not thank the members of Congress who drafted and passed the Taiwan Relations Act forty years ago, including Senator Bob Dole.
On March seventh, 1979 during the floor debates, Senator Dole said:
“If the Taiwanese question is not resolved in favour of freedom and independence, then none of our allies, none of the people facing oppression in the world today, none of the nations who rely on the strength of America, and the good faith of our commitments to dissuade stronger and more aggressive alliances – none of these can hope for freedom of choice in a secure and stable future.”
The TRA is more than just a policy. It is a commitment to the values of freedom and democracy.
And that commitment has defined the partnership between Taiwan and the US, and made us an indispensable force for good in the region, and around the world.
Now I want to ask you to look around. We can see how beautiful this new compound is, the tall glass-windows, the artistry of the metalwork. It is truly a sight to behold.
But beyond the majesty of this building, what makes this occasion so special is the collective efforts of the many heroes who worked tirelessly over the past forty years, to deepen the friendship between Taiwan and the US.
So this new AIT compound is a monument to our joint achievements in areas including culture, education, security, trade and investment, and guarding our shared values.
It also affirms our shared commitment to creating a secure and stable future, where people enjoy the freedom of choice.
More importantly, it reminds us that our shared commitment is like this building: It requires collective efforts, particularly when our world is faced with some unprecedented challenges.
So on this special day, let's pledge to bring this enduring partnership to the next level. Let’s turn Taiwan into a regional hub that connects Asia and the rest of the world, so that the beacon of democracy can bring the light of hope to people longing to be free.
Because in today's inter-connected world, it is vital that like-minded people move easily beyond borders. So we are ready, willing, and able to work on including Taiwan in the US Preclearance program to bring our peoples closer together.
We also look forward to working with the US and other like-minded countries to encourage more talent exchanges and interaction. This will help form personal alliances, and ensure that Taiwan's next generation of business, academic, and government leaders will play a bigger role in the international community.
Now, one of the few things that remain unchanged in this ever-changing world, is our shared commitment to peace, security, and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
But China recently has increased its military activities in the region. In fact, just today, the Chinese Air Force flew military aircraft over the Miyako Strait and Bashi Channel, further challenging stability in the Taiwan Strait and this part of the world.
Taiwan and the US have achieved so much together over the past four decades. So, seeing the optimism and energy of everyone here today, I have every reason to believe that even as we are here today to honour the past, and celebrate the present, the best is yet to come.
So congratulations, Brent, and the team at AIT who made today's event, and this compound possible. After so many years. And I look forward to working with you in the coming years to honour our shared commitments, strengthen this force for good, and create a more open, and free Indo-Pacific and beyond. Thank you.
Earlier, Director Christensen delivered remarks stating that the Taiwan Relations Act has not only benefitted both the people of the United States and Taiwan, but people elsewhere around the world. He considers the US-Taiwan partnership a reflection of our shared interests and values, while our economic and commercial relationship provides innovative technology, cultural richness, and prosperity for both of our societies. Our cooperation in promoting freedom, human rights, and rule of law, he said, demonstrates our commitment to these values both within our own democracies and internationally, and our security cooperation contributes to peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region.
Director Christensen then stated that the US-Taiwan relationship is a story of friendship, progress, partnership, and peace. He was humbled, he said, to be at the helm of AIT at this time to help carry the US-Taiwan relationship forward, build on this strong foundation, and usher in an even brighter future.