During a meeting with a delegation from the Washington-based International Republican Institute (IRI) on the morning of October 17, President Tsai Ing-wen stated that disinformation creates misunderstandings between the public and the government, undermines social harmony, and clearly damages democracy. She thanked the IRI for sending experts to Taiwan to share experiences fighting disinformation, so that we can work together to protect democracy.
A translation of the president's remarks follows:
First, I would like to welcome IRI President Daniel Twining and his delegation to Taiwan. The IRI is dedicated to promoting global freedom and democracy, and has had close, friendly relations with Taiwan for many years. The IRI has also taken concrete action to support Taiwan's democracy.
This September was a good example. For the first time, the IRI joined us to cosponsor an event, the International Workshop on Defending Democracy through Media Literacy under the Global Cooperation Training Framework. The IRI also sent representatives to attend the inaugural Indo-Pacific Democratic Governance Consultations. During this visit, I am sure that we can further strengthen exchanges, and work together to identify ways to promote regional democratic development, and stabilize democracy.
Taiwan and the United States are both firm believers in core values like freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. We also share the same vision for the Indo-Pacific region. And I am sure that the best way to ensure peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, is to maintain strong Taiwan-US relations, so that together, we can defend democracy and freedom.
The recent democracy protests in Hong Kong have made Taiwanese cherish our democracy and way of life even more. We will staunchly defend Taiwan's sovereignty and democracy, and continue to support values like freedom, the rule of law, and human rights in the Indo-Pacific. I also want to reiterate: For the people of Taiwan, "one country, two systems" is not an option.
I know that the IRI has been doing in-depth analysis and combatting disinformation for a long time. This is also a serious issue that all democratic nations must address.
Disinformation creates misunderstandings between the public and the government. It also undermines social harmony, and clearly damages democracy. Now, in the run-up to Taiwan's presidential election, disinformation is rampant once again. Even disinformation that was already clarified and proven false has re-appeared, circulating on the Internet.
Every time I meet with foreign visitors, disinformation is a focal point in our discussions. So I want to thank the IRI for sending experts to Taiwan this year to understand the disinformation challenges that we are facing, so we can share experiences fighting disinformation, and work together to protect democracy.
Taiwan-US relations now enjoy strong bipartisan support in the United States. We will continue to cooperate closely with the United States, strengthening our bilateral partnership to jointly respond to regional challenges and threats in a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Also included in the delegation was IRI Regional Director for Asia Johanna Kao.