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President Tsai attends 2021 Austronesian Forum
President Tsai attends 2021 Austronesian Forum

On the morning of December 7, President Tsai Ing-wen attended the 2021 Austronesian Forum. In remarks at the event, President Tsai expressed hope that the platform would highlight Austronesian perspectives on how to ensure peace in the region and the world, and that it would facilitate meaningful exchanges and cooperation between its Austronesian members and other influential countries in the Indo-Pacific, maintaining the dynamism of Austronesian communities while spurring sustainable development across the region.

A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:

It's a pleasure to once again join our partners both here and online at the Austronesian Forum. Former President [Tommy E.] Remengesau [Jr.], you are a good friend of ours, and we welcome you back to Taiwan, this time in your capacity as a traditional leader.

While the past two years have posed serious challenges to people around the world, we Austronesian brothers and sisters have maintained our close bonds. We have worked hand-in-hand to fight the pandemic, cooperated in trade, and continued social and cultural exchanges. Our determination to hold this year's Austronesian Forum in the face of numerous obstacles is a perfect example of our mutual solidarity. During this ongoing pandemic, it is even more crucial that we continue to sustain our longstanding ties.

Recently, we've lost two important Austronesian traditional leaders: Palau Paramount High Chief Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons, and Chairman of the Marshall Islands Council of Irooj Kotak Loeak.

I had the opportunity to meet with these two elders when visiting Palau and the Marshall Islands. Traditional leaders like them still play key roles in Austronesian culture, and provide important wisdom and guidance when their countries face challenges.

The theme of this year's forum focuses on how to reconcile traditional Austronesian systems of leadership with contemporary politics. By exchanging insights on traditional culture and politics at this forum, I believe that we can open up new possibilities for the development of Austronesian societies.

This forum was established in the very hope of renewing connections and expanding cooperation between us, as Austronesian brothers and sisters, while also contributing our perspectives on how to build a better region and world.

In recent years, we have made steady progress in our cooperation in language, culture, trade, ecological conservation, publishing and translation, and international talent cultivation. And now, in addition to the Austronesian Forum headquarters in Palau and the secretariat in Taipei, the American Institute in Taiwan is now taking part in this forum for the first time. We hope that the US government will officially join the Austronesian Forum as an observer.

I look forward to fellow Austronesians and other influential countries in the Indo-Pacific using the Austronesian Forum as a platform to facilitate meaningful exchanges and cooperation. By working together, we can maintain the dynamism of Austronesian communities, and spur sustainable development across the Indo-Pacific. Thank you, and I wish you all a successful forum.

Also in attendance at the forum were Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Minister without Portfolio and Executive Yuan Spokesperson Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成), Austronesian Forum Executive Council Chair and Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod (夷將‧拔路兒), Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tien Chung-kwang (田中光), Legislators Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) and Yosi Takun (孔文吉), former President of the Republic of Palau Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. and his wife, Mrs. Debbie Remengesau, and members of the foreign diplomatic corps in Taiwan.

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