TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the United States’ Taiwan Relations Act, President Tsai Ing-wen held a video conference with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Brookings Institute, and the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. from the Presidential Office Building.
Tsai looked back at the four-decade long history of the law and reiterated her determination to protect Taiwan’s democracy and freedom. By continuing to increase defense budgets and strengthening partnerships with like-minded countries, she said she has taken the responsibility to protect the country’s sovereignty unreservedly.
When asked what she wished to change in the current situation facing US-Taiwan-China relations, Tsai didn’t shy away from asking the United States to “make clear at a very senior level that it considers the security of Taiwan vital to the defense of democracy.”
Throughout the conference, Tsai pushed for a bilateral trade agreement with the U.S., stating that it would be in Washington's interest to work with Taiwan closely. She offered Taiwan’s advantages in the global high-tech supply chain, its high standard for data security and integrity in comparison to Chinese company Huawei.
Tsai believes a bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and Taiwan can reduce both countries’ reliance on the Chinese economy and combat China’s influence in domestic affairs. “We have the potential to work together in crafting an agreement that is based on our values and ideals, which can be used as a model for the rest of the Indo-Pacific region.”
When asked what more should be done to ensure Taiwan’s sufficient self-defense capability, Tsai said she is committed to the Overall Defense Concept that invests in indigenously build systems and arms procurement from the United States. “We want to deter aggression by showing [that] we are capable of effectively defending ourselves,” Tsai replied.
In her closing remark, Tsai affirmed the importance of the Act and highlighted the shared interests that have been built upon it. “In an increasingly uncertain world, it is more important than ever to remember the spirit of the Taiwan Relations Act – that is, to protect peace, security, and stability in our region,” said Tsai.