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President Tsai meets US delegation led by Senator Duckworth 
President Tsai meets US delegation led by Senator Duckworth 

On the morning of May 31, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by United States Senator Tammy Duckworth. In remarks, President Tsai stated that Taiwan and the US are key economic and security partners in the Indo-Pacific region, and emphasized that Taiwan will continue to express willingness to participate in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework put forward by the US government. The president added that Taiwan looks forward to working with the US, and taking new steps together, to develop concrete plans that further deepen our economic partnership.

A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:

I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Senator Duckworth and her delegation. Last June, when Taiwan saw a surge in COVID-19 cases, Senator Duckworth traveled all the way here, along with Senators [Dan] Sullivan and [Chris] Coons, to announce that the US government would donate vaccines to Taiwan. Senator Duckworth, at that time, you said the US would not let Taiwan stand alone. Your words truly touched the hearts of the Taiwanese people.

Taiwan and the US are key economic and security partners in the Indo-Pacific region. We have jointly fought the pandemic and stand together in defending freedom and democracy. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, both Taiwan and the US have imposed economic sanctions on Russia and provided assistance to Ukraine.

Following their meeting last week, President [Joe] Biden and Prime Minister Kishida [Fumio] of Japan issued a joint statement reiterating the importance of cross-strait peace and stability. A few days ago, US Secretary of State [Antony] Blinken also emphasized once again how maintaining cross-strait peace and stability is vital to global security and prosperity. I would like to thank the US government and Congress for the importance they place on peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. I also want to thank Senator Duckworth for keeping a close watch on Taiwan-related security issues.

Last July, Senator Duckworth was one of the main sponsors of the Taiwan Partnership Act, which received bipartisan support in the US Congress. As a result, the US Department of Defense is now proactively planning cooperation between the US National Guard and Taiwan's defense forces. Senator Duckworth also recently introduced a bill that further prioritizes Taiwan's security as part of US military deployment in the Indo-Pacific region.

We look forward to closer and deeper Taiwan-US cooperation on matters of regional security. At the same time, to address the challenges of the post-pandemic era, Taiwan and the US have reviewed and assessed the many facets of our trade cooperation. 

In the meantime, we will continue to express our willingness to participate in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework put forward by the US government. And in the near future, we look forward to Taiwan and the US working together, and taking new steps, to develop concrete plans that further deepen our economic partnership.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the US for speaking up for Taiwan during the World Health Assembly earlier this month. And this visit once again demonstrates the rock-solid bond between Taiwan and the US.

Finally, I want to make special mention of Senator Duckworth's memoir, Every Day Is a Gift, which was published in Mandarin earlier this year to resounding acclaim. Drawing on her military background, Senator Duckworth's memoir highlights her professional expertise in national defense, her perseverance in overcoming many challenges, and her commitment to justice. I am delighted to recommend this book to the people of Taiwan so that they can learn more about our American friend and be inspired by her story.

Moving forward, let us work together and continue to strengthen Taiwan-US relations. I wish you all a very successful visit. Thank you!

The following is a transcript of Senator Duckworth's remarks:

Thank you so much for welcoming me back. I am so pleased to be here. This is going to have to be an annual visit, I think. I do bring regrets from Senators Sullivan and Coons, who did want to come but could not come this time, but they say next time they'll be here.

I am so pleased to be here to, again, reiterate that the United States stands with Taiwan, and [that] you will not stand alone. I said that when we brought the first-ever US donations of vaccines to any country – we donated to Taiwan first. And I'm here again to reiterate that this partnership is a true partnership – one that is valuable to us as well.

And friends help each other out. When I brought the vaccines, I mentioned the donations of PPE and masks to the United States at a time – at the beginning of the pandemic – when we could not find any. And Taiwan donated quite a large amount. And so we were pleased to return the favor with the vaccines.

At a time when, because of the pandemic, our manufacturing supply lines ground to a halt, it was your commitment to stepping up production of semiconductors that ended up saving 100,000 American jobs, because those people did not get laid off at a time when we were struggling with the pandemic. And we recognize the effort that you put into that, and that it saved many working Americans, and kept people employed and food on the table, and we're grateful.

So I'm here this time to, again, talk about our support for Taiwan's security. You did mention the standing-up of the National Guard and my legislation with Senator [John] Thune, the Republican assistant leader, and my recent bill, the Strengthen Taiwan's Security Act, which, by the way, is bipartisan right now – three Democrats, three Republicans – and I have a line of people all waiting to sign on to it, all from the [Senate] Armed Services Committee.

So while I want to emphasize our support for Taiwan's security, I do want to say that it is more than just about military – it's also about the economy. And I'm here to support President Biden's efforts in engaging in economic relationships and closer relationships between our two nations on an economic front as well as on national security.

And so, I will close by saying that there's tremendous support for Taiwan within the legislative branch. Our president has shown his support for Taiwan. You've heard from our military, and as a member of the legislative branch, I will tell you it is a bipartisan agreement that the US should stand with Taiwan, and I wanted to symbolize that by wearing my plum blossom pin and my US Senate pin together side by side as partners. Thank you.

The delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office by American Institute in Taiwan Taipei Office Director Sandra Oudkirk. 

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