The government and people of Taiwan are committed to defending the country’s free and democratic way of life against Chinese expansionism, Foreign Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu said Sept. 15.
Democracies around the world must cooperate and continue to defend shared values while sowing the seeds for the ultimate triumph of freedom, Wu said. If democracy is to win, Taiwan must prevail, he added.
Wu made the remarks during a virtual address at the Global Taiwan Institute Annual Symposium on Taiwan-U.S. relations in Washington. Other speakers at the two-day event were Hsiao Bi-khim, head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S.; Mike Gallagher, member of the U.S. House of Representatives; David Helvey, acting assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs at the U.S. Department of Defense; and Brent Christensen, director of the American Institute in Taiwan.
According to Wu, 2020 has been a difficult year due to coronavirus—first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year—and its tremendous impact on the global economy. Taiwan weathered the pandemic in good shape due to its rapid deployment of the Central Epidemic Command Center, stringent border controls and quarantine procedures, transparent information sharing and stockpiles of medical supplies, he said.
Taiwan’s example clearly demonstrates that a free and democratic society can be more effective at crisis management than an authoritarian regime, Wu said. U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly stated that Taiwan’s “openness and generosity in the global battle against COVID-19 is a model for the world,” he added.
Wu said Taiwan enjoys high-level support from the U.S., citing the historic visit last month by Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; declassification of diplomatic cables regarding arms sales to Taiwan and the Six Assurances; and the signing into law of the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act of 2019.
Another area in which Taiwan is benefiting from U.S. backing is economic exchanges, Wu said. Last month’s announcement by President Tsai Ing-wen of an easing on U.S. beef and pork imports restrictions was welcomed by many of the country’s friends on Capitol Hill, he added.
It is sincerely hoped the move will pave the way for substantive talks on a bilateral trade agreement, Wu said. It also augurs well for the launch of the economic and commercial dialogue with Keith Krach, undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, he added.
Wu took the opportunity to thank U.S. for supporting the enhancement of Taiwan’s defensive capabilities. Over the past four years, the administration of President Donald J. Trump greenlit seven arms sales packages to Taiwan totaling US$13.2 billion, he said.
Going forward, Wu said, Taiwan will further develop and bolster its indigenous defense and asymmetrical warfare capabilities. The country remains firmly committed to working with the U.S. and other like-minded partners to defend Taiwan from China’s manipulations and threats, he added.
GTI, established in 2016, is a think tank promoting greater understanding of Taiwan and its people in the U.S. through targeted policy research and engagement programs. (TYT-E)