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President Tsai meets Formosa Forum international participants
President Tsai meets Formosa Forum international participants

President Tsai Ing-wen met with international experts and scholars attending the Formosa Forum: 2019 Maritime Security Dialogue on the morning of June 21. She told them that Taiwan established the Ocean Affairs Council to protect the marine environment and the safety of our fishermen, and promote international cooperation and sustainable development of marine resources. 

President Tsai began her remarks by congratulating her visitors on the success of this year's Formosa Forum. She thanked them for coming to Taiwan for the event to explore maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, and offer their valuable suggestions. The president also thanked the Prospect Foundation for their efforts to organize the forum.

Over the past few years, President Tsai noted, the security situation in the Indo-Pacific has grown increasingly complex. China has continued to step up its suppression of Taiwan, and expand its sea power in the Taiwan Strait, East China Sea, and South China Sea. This has not only undermined the cross-strait status quo, but also threatened regional peace and stability, said the president.

President Tsai also pointed out that China's President, Xi Jinping, has attempted to force the so-called "one country, two systems" model on Taiwan, and that China continues to exclude Taiwan from the World Health Assembly. At the beginning of this month, she mentioned, China's defense minister once again refused to renounce the use of force against Taiwan. In fact, even faced with constant pressure from China, Taiwan will never back down. We will continue to defend our sovereignty, and reach out to the world, she said.

The president emphasized that Taiwan is not just a country in the Taiwan Strait, but a member of the larger Pacific community. Over the past three years, she noted, we have placed greater focus on maritime affairs, and established the Ocean Affairs Council to coordinate maritime policy, working to protect the marine environment and the safety of our fishermen, and promote international cooperation and sustainable development of marine resources.

President Tsai further pointed out that we have also signed coast guard cooperation agreements with our Pacific allies, providing a legal basis for our joint initiatives. South China Sea issues have drawn a lot of attention, she said, and we advocate shelving disputes and promoting joint development, and resolving conflicts by peaceful means through multilateral negotiations. Taiwan is willing to continue dialogue and cooperation with the countries involved to promote peace and protect resources in the South China Sea.

The president mentioned that the ongoing US-China trade dispute is seriously impacting Asia's economic structure, altering the global trade order and supply chains. Taiwan will accelerate cooperation with our New Southbound Policy partner countries, and realign the supply chains of Taiwan companies operating in China to create win-win development with our partner countries, she said.

As a responsible member of the international community, the president stated, Taiwan will continue to cooperate with like-minded countries to safeguard regional peace and stability through platforms like the Taiwan-US Global Cooperation and Training Framework.

In closing, President Tsai thanked her visitors once again for participating in the forum, enhancing our understanding of major maritime security issues, and strengthening our friendship with international experts. She expressed hope that they will all continue to support Taiwan, and that we look forward to more exchanges and cooperation in the future.

Prospect Foundation Chairman Mark Chen (陳唐山) was also present at the meeting.

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