On the morning of December 1, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation from the German Marshall Fund (GMF), a think tank based in Washington, DC. In remarks, President Tsai said that Taiwan will continue to bolster its self-defense capabilities and hopes to cooperate with more democratic allies to jointly ensure the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region. Noting that the industries of Taiwan, the United States, and European countries are highly complementary, the president said that we should deepen cooperation to create safer, more resilient supply chains.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
It has been nearly four years since a delegation from the GMF last visited Taiwan. I am delighted to welcome you so soon after Taiwan opened its borders.
Among the delegation are many good friends and longtime supporters of Taiwan from the United States and Europe, including Director of the Asia Program at the GMF Bonnie Glaser. I would like to sincerely thank you for visiting Taiwan and for supporting our country through concrete actions.
In recent years, the world has gone through many major changes. In addressing the pandemic, Taiwan, the United States, and many European nations have proactively supported one another, helping us all get through this challenge.
Moreover, the expansion of authoritarianism, evidenced by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and China's continued military exercises, has posed a number of daunting challenges to democratic systems around the world. Democratic countries should further strengthen their alliances and staunchly defend the values of democracy and freedom.
In response to China's continued military exercises around Taiwan, this year's holder of the G7 rotating presidency Germany was quick to issue a joint statement by the G7 foreign ministers stressing the importance of peace across the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan stands on the frontline of the fight against authoritarian expansion. The United States continues to help Taiwan improve its self-defense capabilities in accordance with security pledges provided under the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances. Since taking office, the Biden administration has approved six rounds of military sales to Taiwan and has continued to conduct freedom of navigation operations in the Taiwan Strait. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I want to express my sincere appreciation for these actions.
Taiwan will continue to bolster its self-defense capabilities. We also hope to cooperate with more democratic allies to jointly ensure the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region. The expansion of authoritarianism has also affected the global economic order. As the industries of Taiwan, the United States, and European countries are highly complementary, we should increase our cooperation to create safer, more resilient supply chains.
We also look forward to continuing to comprehensively deepen economic and trade cooperation with the United States through the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), the Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue (EPPD), and the Technology Trade and Investment Collaboration (TTIC) framework. And earlier this year, Taiwan launched a project to strengthen connectivity with Europe, along with the EU's Global Gateway project, we hope to further enhance economic and trade links with European countries.
In closing, I once again extend a very warm welcome to you. I look forward to exchanging views with you on key issues. Thank you!
Former US Congressman Will Hurd then delivered remarks and thanked President Tsai for her hospitality on behalf of the delegation. The former congressman mentioned that for some members of the delegation, this is their first time in Taiwan. Having met local citizens, he expressed that he has learned why "one country, two systems" clearly will not work in Taiwan.
Former Congressman Hurd also thanked President Tsai for creating one of the few issues for which there is clear bipartisan support in Washington, DC, as Republicans and Democrats agree that the 23.5 million citizens of Taiwan should be the only people allowed to make decisions on the future of Taiwan.
The former congressman said he is proud to be in Taiwan as part of a delegation from the GMF, a think tank that for 50 years has held the belief that the US and Europe together can solve a lot of problems. Pointing to the diversity of the delegation's members, he stated that the transatlantic alliance supports Taiwan, and added that their delegation has come to Taiwan to learn concrete steps that the transatlantic alliance can take in order to help further our partnership.
Former Member of the German Bundestag Marieluise Beck also spoke and thanked President Tsai for making time for their meeting. Noting that she represents the European part of this delegation, Ms. Beck remarked that it was an excellent idea by the GMF to bring together the delegation members. She also mentioned that some of them have experience in Taiwan, but others do not.
Ms. Beck stated that the world has changed a lot this year and been shocked by the fact that a European country has been the victim of a war of aggression, a war which the international community has not been able to stop.
She added that this war has changed the thinking of those in Europe and within the G7, of which Germany currently holds the presidency. She also expressed her belief that all of Europe now understands that upholding freedom is a challenge that many were not fully aware of and that for those living in democracies, fighting for freedom is something we should commit our efforts to on a daily basis.
Ms. Beck noted that we are starting to rethink globalization, and that Germany especially is having to learn that globalization cannot mean reliance on one powerful country only.
She added that Germany has experienced this through its reliance on Russian fossil fuels, as Germany and other countries are now paying the price for this decision.
Ms. Beck stated that the members of the delegation are well aware that Taiwan is under threat. While we do not know how the situation in Taiwan will develop, she said that we have learned that when addressing threats, it is best to answer them before aggressive steps are taken.
Ms. Beck stated that this is why the delegation is here, and that its members want to hear about what Taiwan needs and how they can help.
Also present at the meeting were Chair of the United Kingdom House of Commons Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood, Vice-Chair of the European People's Party Group in the European Parliament Arnaud Danjean, Former Undersecretary of the United States Navy Janine Davidson, Former Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Robert D. Sharp, Director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali Nathalie Tocci, President of the GMF Heather Conley, and Director of the Swedish Center for China Studies Jerker Hellström.