President Tsai Ing-wen addressed a conference marking the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA40) staged April 9 by U.S.-based think tanks Center for Strategic and International Studies, Brookings Institution and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Moderated by Richard L. Armitage, CSIS trustee and former U.S. deputy secretary of state, the special TRA40 event in Washington involved academics, experts and officials like Bonnie Glaser, CSIS senior adviser for Asia; Michael Green, CSIS senior vice president for Asia and Japan chair; and American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James F. Moriarty.
Tsai, who was accompanied by Foreign Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu and National Security Council Secretary-General David Tawei Lee during her speech delivered from the Presidential Office in Taipei City, said the government is committed to safeguarding Taiwan's democratic way of life. It is also determined to continue working closely with the U.S. and other like-minded partners in building a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific, she added.
According to Tsai, Taiwan is a front-line state defending freedom, democracy and rules-based order. This reality is reflected by the government's policy of bolstering the nation's armed forces via increased spending over the past two years, she said.
U.S. arms sales and support for Taiwan's indigenous defense industry play a key role in the process, Tsai said, adding that they are in line with the spirit of the TRA and help maintain cross-strait and regional peace and stability.
Tsai said Taiwan and the U.S. enjoy an enduring partnership based on shared values. The closeness of ties is underscored by recent developments like the launch of the Indo-Pacific Democratic Governance Dialogue, as well as a number of other initiatives under the Global Cooperation and Training Framework.
According to Tsai, Taiwan is facing a relentless campaign of coercion by China threatening to undermine the cross-strait status quo. The government and 23 million people of Taiwan are grateful for the backing of the U.S. and other like-minded countries at this challenging time, she said.
Looking ahead, Tsai said Taiwan and the U.S. will cooperate even closer and capitalize on a robust relationship characterized by strong cultural, people-to-people and trade exchanges.
Taiwan is the 11th largest trading partner of the U.S. and the economies of both sides are complementary, Tsai said. The time is ripe for Taipei and Washington to conclude a bilateral trade agreement serving as model for the Indo-Pacific, she added.
The TRA was signed into law April 10, 1979, following the switch of recognition from Taipei to Beijing by the U.S. It authorizes the continuation of substantive relations between the two sides in the absence of diplomatic ties, and is an important factor in preserving Indo-Pacific peace, stability and security.
Source: Taiwan Today