President Tsai Ing-wen convened a high-level national security meeting on the morning of October 31, and issued directives on five issues: China's military threat and regional security; continuing to deepen Taiwan-US relations; stabilizing cross-strait relations; the stability and security of domestic politics and economics; and future economic development.
President Tsai stated that to address the challenges of completely new circumstances and possibilities, and based on the principle of upholding and defending the values of democracy and freedom, the government will continue to deepen and consolidate Taiwan-US relations and staunchly maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. This administration has the confidence and capabilities to respond to all different situations, and the public can rest assured.
President Tsai then issued the following directives:
I. China's military threat and regional security
The president stated that for some time, increasingly frequent Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) military activities in the Taiwan Strait, South China Sea, and even the East China Sea have impacted regional security. As a member of the regional community, Taiwan will continue to faithfully fulfill our responsibilities. History has proven that showing weakness and making concessions has never brought peace, and only strong determination and solid defense capabilities can protect our homeland.
The Ministry of National Defense (MND) and National Security Council (NSC) should properly monitor the recent PRC regional military activities and carefully assess all possible threats and risks, and must be fully prepared. Taiwan will continue to enhance the modernization of defensive combat capabilities, upgrade asymmetric combat capabilities, promote self-defense capabilities, and reform the military reserve mobilization system to respond to the expansion and provocations of military activities from across the Taiwan Strait.
II. Continuing to deepen Taiwan-US relations
President Tsai stated that recent mainstream public opinion in the US favors Taiwan, with unanimous bipartisan support. The Congress has already passed numerous bills and resolutions including the Taiwan Travel Act, TAIPEI Act, and Taiwan Assurance Act. The executive branch has many high-level officials that have visited Taiwan, and has also passed several arms sale packages. Taiwan citizens can clearly see the progress in Taiwan-US relations.
Taiwan-US relations are the crux of our diplomatic efforts. Whatever the outcome of the US elections, continuing to deepen relations with both the Republican and Democratic parties and striving for continued unanimous cross-party support for democratic Taiwan are our primary goals to promote the development of Taiwan-US relations.
President Tsai instructed the NSC, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States to continue to strengthen diplomatic efforts in the United States, including the effective monitoring of relevant situations and developments, striving for broad bilateral support for Taiwan, steady implementation of key ongoing policies, and identifying the priority tasks for the next several months and proactively executing them.
Taiwan and the United States are an alliance of ideals and values, and we believe that Taiwan-US relations will continue to grow stronger and deeper in the future based on our existing interaction and cooperation, and will not be affected by other variables.
III. Stabilizing cross-strait relations
Addressing changes in cross-strait relations, President Tsai reiterated that maintaining cross-strait stability is in our common interest. Based on mutual respect, goodwill, and understanding, both sides should discuss how we can live in peace and coexist. Under the principles of parity and dignity, we are willing to work together to facilitate meaningful cross-strait dialogue. We hope the Beijing authorities will also take on that same responsibility, and make that dialogue happen soon.
IV. Stability and security of domestic politics and economics
To prevent external factors from impacting public safety and social order, the president instructed the relevant government agencies, including the Coast Guard Administration and the National Police Agency, to ensure that they maintain public safety, prevent the spread of disinformation, and strengthen the security and protection of public infrastructure, vigorously protecting Taiwan's democratic system and free way of life.
V. Future economic development
The president also instructed ministries and agencies related to finance and economics to pay special attention to changes in financial markets and the economy after the US presidential election; strengthen implementation of relief measures for industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and speed up the implementation of major investment projects and infrastructure programs to enhance our economy's resilience.
President Tsai emphasized that to address the realignment of supply chains, based on the "5+2 innovative industries plan," "Six Core Strategic Industries," and the "trillion NT-dollar investment program," the government will speed up the transformation and upgrading of domestic industries, and in coordination with the New Southbound Policy and through bilateral and multilateral economic and trade cooperation with key trade partners, assist supply chains to establish links overseas.
The president emphasized once again the need to deepen Taiwan-US economic cooperation. After we made a policy announcement relaxing restrictions on US pork and beef imports on August 28, the US Vice President, Secretary of State, members of Congress from both parties, and representatives of Taiwan and US industry immediately used numerous channels to publicly and actively respond and support closer economic cooperation with Taiwan. During a recent visit to Taiwan by US Under Secretary of State Keith Krach, the two sides engaged in wide-ranging discussions on economic matters. A bipartisan majority in the US Senate also issued a joint letter to the Office of the US Trade Representative urging the administration to begin negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan. These advances are all due to Taiwan's willingness to face and resolve problems, and demonstrate our determination to re-establish our international credibility and promote substantive progress. Based on this progress, we believe that Taiwan-US trade negotiations can continue to gain momentum and will be successful when conditions are ripe.
In closing, the president stated that, in addition to Premier Su Tseng-chang's (蘇貞昌) directive at the Cabinet meeting last Thursday, to strengthen supply chain cooperation in strategic areas, the government will also actively convene a "Taiwan-US economic dialogue," seek to resume negotiations with the US under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), and enter into talks with the United States on a bilateral trade agreement (BTA), laying a foundation for institutionalized bilateral cooperation. At the same time, we must fully utilize the "framework to strengthen basic infrastructure financing and market building cooperation" to actively push for Taiwan and the United States to establish supply chain cooperation networks in the New Southbound countries and Latin America.
During the meeting, President Tsai also expressed deep concern about the recent death of a Malaysian student enrolled at Chang Jung Christian University. In addition to extending deepest condolences to the student's family, the president also directed the relevant government agencies to do their utmost to help the family handle related matters.
In a response to the death of a Malaysian student in our country, President Tsai expressed her deepest apologies to the student's family and the people of Malaysia. She feels that Taiwan should be the most friendly and safe country. This unfortunate incident has caused great harm to Taiwan's international image, and represents a gap in our efforts to maintain a safe society, and we must undertake a thorough review to ensure that this kind of incident never happens again.
President Tsai also expressed deep concern upon hearing about the strong earthquake that struck on October 30 in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Turkey, causing considerable damage. In addition to directing MOFA to quickly confirm the safety of Taiwanese expatriates, the president also asked the Ministry to convey her concern and condolences, along with those of the people of Taiwan, to the people of Turkey. She expressed hope for an early recovery in the disaster area, and stated that Taiwan stands ready to provide all possible assistance.