On the morning of June 6, President Tsai Ing-wen attended the plaque unveiling ceremony for the Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs, where she reiterated her determination to safeguard democratic Taiwan. She said that for us, democracy is not just a slogan. It is a way of life for our people, and a fundamental value that protects their dignity. Based on our shared commitment to democratic values, she added, she will ensure that Taiwan-US relations continue to move steadily forward, as we work together to promote a more free and open Indo-Pacific region.
In her remarks, President Tsai noted that she was delighted to join everyone to witness the official name change of the Coordination Council for North American Affairs (CCNAA). Starting today, she said, after we unveil the plaque, the CCNAA’s name would officially be changed to the Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs (TCUSA). This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, and based on our mutual trust and understanding, we are taking concrete action to create a new milestone in Taiwan-US relations, she added.
The president pointed out that looking back to 40 years ago in 1979, based on the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act, the US established the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) as a representative institution to handle US government affairs related to Taiwan. That same year, Taiwan established the CCNAA as AIT's counterpart in the US.
President Tsai mentioned that our diplomatic situation was quite difficult back then. However, we adopted a pragmatic attitude, naming our institution dealing with US affairs the CCNAA. Whether 40 years ago or today, she added, we have always believed that no matter what kind of challenges we are faced with, history belongs to those who honor their values.
The president said that after four decades of effort, today's Taiwan-US partnership is stronger and closer than ever. And that partnership has also become a force for good in the Indo-Pacific.
President Tsai further explained that this year, we also joined our American friends to celebrate AIT's 40th anniversary and the new AIT compound in Neihu. During the celebration ceremony at the new compound, she said: "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."
President Tsai stressed that as president, she wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate her determination to safeguard democratic Taiwan. Democracy is not just a slogan for us. It is a way of life for our people, and a fundamental value that protects their dignity. Based on our shared commitment to democratic values, she said, she will ensure that Taiwan-US relations continue to move steadily forward, as we work together to promote a more free and open Indo-Pacific.
Finally, the president said, she was pleased to see so many like-minded American friends joining us to witness this historical moment. In the forward march of history, she said she looks forward to working with everyone to defend our shared democratic values, so that the Taiwan-US partnership will play an even bigger role in the Indo-Pacific region.
AIT Taipei Office Director William Brent Christensen also delivered remarks, saying that the Taiwan Relations Act not only benefits people in the US and Taiwan, but also benefits people around the world. Director Christensen then said that renaming the CCNAA as the Taiwan Council for US Affairs more accurately reflects that institution's day-to-day contribution to a deeper and stronger US-Taiwan friendship.
Director Christensen also said that he was honored to be at the helm of the AIT Taipei Office at this important time to help US-Taiwan relations move toward the next milestone, and continue to build on our strong existing foundation to create a brighter future. Although the CCNAA was given a new name today, he said, the deep friendship that the people of the US and Taiwan have established and nurtured over the past 40 years will continue to deepen in the future.
Following her remarks, President Tsai took questions from the media about reports that the US would sell Taiwan 108 new-model tanks. The president stated that those were just news reports about arms sales, and that we will issue a statement after we have further, more definite information. At the same time, we will continue to strengthen our own self-defense capabilities and continue to contribute to regional peace and stability. As for international support for Taiwan, the president said we are confident that as a result of our efforts over time, the importance of Taiwan in the eyes of the international community, and their support for Taiwan have both continued to grow.
The president then addressed changing the name of the Coordination Council for North American Affairs, saying that this issue had already been under discussion for some time, and that the timing of the change was not chosen deliberately. Instead, following a period of discussion, after both sides reached a more concrete mutual understanding, the change was publicly announced.
Attendees included National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Executive Yuan Minister without Portfolio Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成), Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs Chairperson Lin Lianron (林良蓉), and Legislative Yuan member Wang Ting-Yu (王定宇).