President Tsai Ing-wen attended the 49th General Assembly of the Asian-Pacific Parliamentarians' Union (APPU) this morning. Through the maritime links and democratic values shared in common, she said, she hopes that member states can work in concert to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and begin a new era of sustainable development in the Indo-Pacific region.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
On behalf of Taiwan, I want to welcome the APPU representatives from Japan, Malaysia, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, and Papua New Guinea who have gathered here today.
The APPU's predecessor—the Asian Parliamentarians' Union—was founded in 1965 by Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi. And a half-century later, the organization is still an important platform for building regional friendship, peace, and stability, and safeguarding the values of democracy and freedom.
Our continuous promotion of parliamentary exchanges has helped us cooperate, and contribute to regional, and even global issues. The theme of this year's APPU General Assembly—"Oceans of Democracy and a Sustainable Indo-Pacific"—is an extension of the APPU's long-term core spirit. As regional partners, APPU members all share three things in common.
The first thing we share is "the sea." We depend on the oceans for our livelihoods. We trade with other nations via the sea, and we all care about sustainable development of the marine environment.
The second thing we share is "democracy." We all strive to put democracy, and values like freedom and human rights into practice. Our democratic experience has become an important foundation for regional peace and stability.
The third thing we all share is an "inclusive and pluralistic society." In the past, our ancestors had frequent exchanges, and shared similar cultural perspectives. Today, Southeast Asia and the Pacific are the most open and culturally diverse regions in the world. This is an important asset for us all.
When I visited some of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the Pacific region this past March, we chose "Oceans of Democracy" as our theme. That trip showed how closely Taiwan, Palau, Nauru, and our other partners are linked together.
So given all that we share, I hope we can work together through the APPU platform to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals. And I believe that our experiences will allow us to make important contributions to global climate change issues.
Taiwan will continue to implement our New Southbound Policy, deepening cooperative relationships with our Southeast Asian neighbors. The Austronesian Forum, which was re-launched last year, is an important organization for rebuilding cultural links with Austronesian peoples. The Taiwan-US Global Cooperation and Training Framework, with Japan also participating, works to cultivate human resources. And Taiwan and the United States have also set up the Indo-Pacific Democratic Governance Consultations to work with our regional partners to promote better governance.
Dear APPU partners, our maritime links and shared commitment to democracy give us a common destiny, and limitless opportunities for development. So let's join together, and start a new era for sustainable development in the Indo-Pacific region. And finally, I would like to once again welcome you all to Taiwan, and hope you will have a successful and rewarding General Assembly.
Following the opening ceremony, President Tsai fielded a question from the media about US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's current visit to a number of Pacific island nations, including Taiwan's diplomatic allies Palau and the Marshall Islands. These Pacific allies are both democratic countries, and have a deep belief in government and democracy. For some time, she said, and especially during her last series of visits this past March, our interactions have shown that we have a strong implicit understanding and close friendship with those allies.