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President Tsai addresses Copenhagen Democracy Summit via video  
President Tsai addresses Copenhagen Democracy Summit via video  

On May 10, President Tsai Ing-wen addressed the Alliance of Democracies (AoD) Foundation's fourth annual Copenhagen Democracy Summit by video.

In her remarks, President Tsai stated that, with democratic values under threat by the expansion of authoritarian influence, democracies around the world must stand together to defend our shared values of freedom, the rule of law, and human rights, and work to ensure the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region. The president further noted that a bilateral investment agreement with Taiwan's international partners would help secure our supply chains and protect our mutual geopolitical and economic interests.

A transcript of President Tsai's speech follows:

It is a pleasure to join you all this year at the fourth Copenhagen Democracy Summit. I want to thank Mr. [Anders Fogh] Rasmussen for once again inviting me to address this gathering. We in Taiwan appreciate your continued support for our country and democratic way of life, and we are committed to working with all of you to strengthen democracy around the globe.

Since we last met, the world has become even more aware of the dangers posed by authoritarian regimes. To expand their influence, they are working to divide us and erode freedom, both at home and abroad.

Just this past March, for example, the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, together with a number of people at today's Summit, were sanctioned for defending human rights.

But we remain united. In the face of this challenge to our shared values, Taiwan stands with the AoD and all those defending freedom.

Our experience, and the lessons of history, continue to teach us that we must not be silent, as ignoring such threats only emboldens those who would seek to undermine our values.

Upholding democracy, peace, and stability is a responsibility that we all share. That is why we must strengthen our global alliance of democracies to uphold freedom, the rule of law, human rights, and space for dissent.

Taiwan's commitment to freedom and democracy has made us a target of disinformation campaigns, economic coercion, and even military intimidation.

Many in the international community are concerned about the potential for conflict caused by these anti-democratic tactics, particularly in the Indo-Pacific.

Our government is fully aware of the threats to regional security, and is actively enhancing our national defense capabilities to protect our democracy. In addition, Taiwan is working with our global partners to ensure safety and stability in the region.

Let me assure you that Taiwan will continue to do our part. Neither external aggression, nor the challenges of the pandemic, can weaken the resilience of our democratic system. But all democracies around the world must remain vigilant and united.

Authoritarian states are now looking to alter the rules-based global order by taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have seen regimes look to manipulate countries via access to key resources. So it is imperative that we collaborate to secure our supply chains and safeguard the global economic order.

Just this past March, we joined with the EU to hold a forum on supply chain cooperation. Taiwan will continue to engage with the EU and other democratic partners to establish a more resilient supply of critical goods such as semiconductors and medical supplies. This kind of reciprocal and transparent cooperation is key to our mutual prosperity.

As we work to contain the ongoing pandemic, it is also our duty to help our friends who have suffered during this global crisis. Not only does this mission require international cooperation; it is yet another area where Taiwan can help. Taiwan's response to COVID-19 shows how pandemics can be contained without curtailing democratic freedoms.

We are fortunate to have many friends in government, the media, and organizations across the globe who have highlighted our pandemic response, as well as what Taiwan can do for the world. We are particularly grateful to an international group of legislators, who have come together across party lines to speak up for Taiwan, and to call on the international community to "let Taiwan help."

For years, our experts and officials have been excluded from the World Health Assembly and other international forums, denying Taiwan the opportunity to share our experience with the world. Nevertheless, as a responsible member of the international community, Taiwan remains committed to helping countries in need.

We in Taiwan are heartened to see how democratic countries have come together to defend our shared values. We look forward to President Biden's Summit for Democracy later this year, as well as the UK's continued leadership of the G7 to expand economic cooperation. These forums have never been more important, as democratic institutions face unprecedented challenges.

The US continues to be a key partner in facilitating our international cooperation. Through platforms such as the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, Taiwan, the US, and our other global partners are deepening our engagement on public health, climate change, women's empowerment, and many other key issues.

We appreciate all the support we have received from our friends across Europe. To reflect how far the Taiwan-EU relationship has come in the past few years, I believe it is time for Taiwan and the EU to restart negotiations on a bilateral investment agreement. A BIA would not just help secure our supply chains; it would protect our mutual geopolitical and economic interests, and send a message about the partnerships and values on which our interests depend.

Taiwan's democracy was built on the sacrifices of all who fought against authoritarian rule. We walked a long road to realize the freedoms we enjoy today, and we are determined never to surrender these freedoms. With liberty and democracy once again under threat, we in the international community must come together to address the challenges of a new era.

By standing united, the democracies of the world can be a greater global force for good. It is my sincere belief that with this democratic alliance, our universal values will continue to lead us toward a better future for all humankind.

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