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President Tsai addresses Ketagalan Forum - 2021 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue: (excerpt: cross-strait relations)

  • Date:2021-08-31

And even though our effort to combat the pandemic remains, there are still issues important to the region and the world that require our attention and joint efforts to resolve.

Issues such as "how to deal with challenges to the Indo-Pacific's liberal order," "how to respond to gray zone coercion in the East and South China Seas," and "reconfiguring globalization and building trusted supply chains."

This year's Ketagalan Forum will facilitate discussions on these essential issues, as we move towards a post-pandemic future.

The Indo-Pacific is the world's fastest growing region. It offers myriad opportunities in areas like trade, research, manufacturing, and education. The stability of this region offers reassurance to the development of the global economy and international security. And it has a pivotal role to play in defining the course of the 21st century.

The Indo-Pacific's emergence is also accompanied by newly developed tensions and systemic contradictions. The rise of a more assertive authoritarianism is the driver of such friction and poses the most serious challenge.

Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, authoritarian regimes are now more convinced that their alternative model of governance is better adapted than the liberal democratic order.

Despite this worrisome trend, Taiwan continues to thrive and be part of the solution for an international community that is still trying to find its post-pandemic footing, while tackling hurdles such as climate change, emerging diseases, non-proliferation, terrorism, and secure supply chains.

With the revival of QUAD and the EU's proposed EU-Asia Connectivity Strategy, which advocates for a sustainable, comprehensive, and rules-based approach to connectivity, Taiwan is well positioned to serve as an indispensable partner in democratic renewal and in sectors such as biotechnology, renewable energy, and the semiconductor industry.

Not only that, Taiwan is committed to working with regional actors to ensure regional stability. We are willing to shoulder our share of the burden, and we will not take our security partners' cavalry for granted.

And our effort doesn't end here. Taiwan is also fully committed to collaborating with its neighbors to prevent armed conflict in the Taiwan Strait and the East and South China Seas.

While we don't seek military confrontation, and hope for peaceful, stable and beneficial existence with our neighbors, we will always defend our democracy and way of life.

Taiwan's high-tech sector, especially its leading edge in the semiconductor sector, will be a crucial component in creating a secure global supply chain that protects critical technologies from exploitation.

The world has changed dramatically due to the outbreak, and the way we live our lives might be forever altered. While extraordinary challenges remain, I see democracies working to safeguard shared values and their institutions and serve the interests of the international community. Our belief in democracy and freedom has never been stronger.

Taiwan's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its assistance to and collaboration with countries around the world, have demonstrated the crucial role that Taiwan can play and why Taiwan matters.

Although we are faced with an arduous journey ahead, we see this as presenting Taiwan with opportunities we've never seen before. Time and again, we all were confronted by great challenges. But we have always been able to triumph by working together and believing in our shared values of freedom and democracy.