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President Tsai confers decoration on 70th US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo
President Tsai confers decoration on 70th US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo

On the morning of March 3, President Tsai Ing-wen presented 70th US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo with the Order of Brilliant Star with Special Grand Cordon in recognition of his longstanding support for Taiwan's international participation and outstanding contribution to advancing Taiwan-US relations. The president also expressed her deepest gratitude to Secretary of State Pompeo on behalf of the people of Taiwan.

A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:

Secretary of State Pompeo, it is a pleasure to welcome your delegation to Taiwan—a place you have called a democratic success story, a reliable partner, and a force for good in the world. Now you will be able to experience firsthand the hospitality and kindness of the Taiwanese people, as well as our commitment to freedom and democracy.

Just now, the Order of Brilliant Star with Special Grand Cordon was presented to Mr. Pompeo for his contributions to advancing Taiwan-US relations. On behalf of the Taiwanese people, I hereby express my deepest gratitude. Secretary Pompeo is not only a long-term supporter of Taiwan's international participation; he has also facilitated multiple breakthroughs in Taiwan-US relations. During his term, restrictions on contact between US and Taiwan government officials were lifted, arms sales were normalized, and mutual visits by higher-level US and Taiwanese officials were made possible. These measures all helped deepen bilateral interaction and cooperation.

Secretary Pompeo's support also allowed Taiwan and the US to establish mechanisms for dialogue in an array of fields, including regional democratic governance, economic affairs, education, and public health. The Taiwan-US Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue, for example, has now been held for two consecutive years and is due to be held again this year.

With Taiwan-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement talks also resuming last year, we expect cooperation in various fields to be strengthened through existing mechanisms. It is our hope that bilateral trade agreement negotiations can commence soon. This would enhance our economic and trade ties even further.

Recently, in response to the situation in Ukraine, Taiwan has joined democratic partners, including the US, in implementing international economic sanctions against Russia. And just days ago, we began providing Ukraine with humanitarian aid. Taiwan and the US share the common values of freedom and democracy. We hope that in the future, Taiwan and the US can work together to help create even more democratic success stories.

A visit from such a good friend as Secretary Pompeo attests to the strong Taiwan-US friendship. Mr. Pompeo, you are very well known here. News of your visit generated broad attention and discussion. We hope you will visit again soon and continue working with us to strengthen Taiwan-US relations.

The following is a transcript of Secretary of State Pompeo's remarks:

It's great to be with you. It's great to be with your whole team, your chief of staff, national security adviser, former colleague, foreign minister. It's wonderful, most of all, to be here with the Taiwanese people, who I have come to know and love, albeit from afar, as this is my first time here. I've come to know them as a noble and caring and loving, and freedom-demanding people. 

One of the things I learned, now some forty years ago, when I was a young soldier, was that to do the right thing is both proper and necessary, and to demand the leaders provide their citizens with freedom and prosperity and stability matters an awful lot. Madam President, you have done that in such a noble, wonderful way. It is so wonderful to watch and such a blessing to me to watch a great leader deliver that to her people.

If any of us were mistaken or complacent about the risk to that freedom, I think we need only watch what's taking place in Europe today to see that this continues to demand deep, concerted, focused leadership from those of us who cherish freedom.

Madam President, you spoke of the things that we did during my time as secretary of state. Allowing normal relationships between our diplomats, to have meetings when it was important to them to have meetings, to send Americans here, American diplomatic leaders here to have conversations about our mutual best interests – our economic interests, our security interests, our interest in promoting freedom around the world.

These were simple and right and proper, and I am so thrilled to see what I hoped the people here in Taiwan will see, which is that these aren't partisan or political, but these are American commitments, that are in our best interests, our American tradition, and in the deep interest of securing and building on the relationship between the United States and Taiwan.

Madam President, thank you again. I think these days call for the simple reminder that it is not provocative to say that one demands freedom. Indeed, to walk away from these things, demonstrate the absence of resolve, and that those who desired to destroy freedom, to change human lives, will see quiet for the absence of direct language, recognition of the basic realities of the human condition, as their opportunity.

President Tsai, I'm confident you will not permit that to happen on your watch. I can assure you that the American people stand with you in that very effort. Bless you. Thank you for this incredible privilege today. It is such a joy to be here. I'm going to enjoy the dried pineapple very much, and I know that I'm going to enjoy even more than that the opportunity to meet the Taiwanese people and thank them for all they have done, all they're doing today for the people of Ukraine, all they're doing today for their families and their fellow citizens, and all that they have done to build an important relationship with United States of America as well. Thank you so much, Madam President.

Among those in attendance at the ceremony were Secretary of State Pompeo's wife, Susan Pompeo; Dr. Miles Yu, former China policy adviser to Secretary of State Pompeo; Mr. Jim Richardson, executive director of Champion American Values PAC (CAPVAC); and attendees from Taiwan included Secretary-General to the President David T. Lee (李大維), National Security Council Secretary-General Wellington Koo (顧立雄), and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮).

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