President Tsai says shared values of democracy, freedom bring Taiwan, US together

China | 22 Mar 2018 4:02 pm

President Tsai Ing-wen and Alex Wong, deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. State Department, promised to continue the efforts to build Taiwan-U.S. ties on the basis of shared values such as democracy and free market.

Speaking at the annual dinner party held by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei, Tsai said the Taiwan government is very grateful to U.S. President Donald Trump and members of the U.S. Congress for supporting the Taiwan Travel Act, which was signed into law last week.

The act encourages the U.S. government to allow high level meetings and visits between Taiwan and U.S. government officials.

Bilateral exchanges have been "facilitating discussions for important issues, from the digital economy to the New Southbound Policy," Tsai said.

She said a deep and abiding belief in democracy, freedom, and free markets has been the foundation of the Taiwan-U.S. partnership.

"This will not change," she said. "We share a common interest in protecting these values and encouraging their development around the region."

Tsai said Taiwan would like to work with the U.S. in other areas such as tourism to enhance people-to-people exchanges.

In turn, Wong expressed similar views, saying the Taiwan-U.S. relationship is built on a number of certainties.

"We can be certain that Taiwan's democracy and resulting development are an example for the entire Indo-Pacific region," he said.

For that example to have the most force, Taiwan can no longer be unjustly excluded from international forums, Wong said.

"Taiwan has much to share with the world on issues of public health, humanitarian relief, and sustainable development," said Wong, the first U.S. official to visit Taiwan since the Taiwan Travel Act was signed into law.

In addition, the U.S. and Taiwan can work together to sustain the free and open order of the Indo-Pacific, said Wong, who arrived in Taiwan Tuesday on a three-day visit.

The U.S. has worked with its partners in the region to set and bolster rules that promote open markets, as well as free, fair and reciprocal trade, he said.

The U.S. particularly welcomes Taiwan's efforts to strengthen its ties with the countries across the region through its New Southbound Policy, Wong said.

"While Taiwan has been viewed as a gateway into the China market, Taiwan is also emerging as a leading economy of Southeast Asian and South Asian markets," he said.

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