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President Tsai convenes high-level national security meeting (excerpt: cross-strait relations)

  • Date:2020-10-31

President Tsai Ing-wen convened a high-level national security meeting on the morning of October 31, and issued directives on five issues: China's military threat and regional security; continuing to deepen Taiwan-US relations; stabilizing cross-strait relations; the stability and security of domestic politics and economics; and future economic development.

President Tsai stated that to address the challenges of completely new circumstances and possibilities, and based on the principle of upholding and defending the values of democracy and freedom, the government will continue to deepen and consolidate Taiwan-US relations and staunchly maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. This administration has the confidence and capabilities to respond to all different situations, and the public can rest assured. 

President Tsai then issued the following directives:

I. China's military threat and regional security

The president stated that for some time, increasingly frequent Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) military activities in the Taiwan Strait, South China Sea, and even the East China Sea have impacted regional security. As a member of the regional community, Taiwan will continue to faithfully fulfill our responsibilities. History has proven that showing weakness and making concessions has never brought peace, and only strong determination and solid defense capabilities can protect our homeland.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) and National Security Council (NSC) should properly monitor the recent PRC regional military activities and carefully assess all possible threats and risks, and must be fully prepared. Taiwan will continue to enhance the modernization of defensive combat capabilities, upgrade asymmetric combat capabilities, promote self-defense capabilities, and reform the military reserve mobilization system to respond to the expansion and provocations of military activities from across the Taiwan Strait.     

II. Continuing to deepen Taiwan-US relations

President Tsai stated that recent mainstream public opinion in the US favors Taiwan, with unanimous bipartisan support. The Congress has already passed numerous bills and resolutions including the Taiwan Travel Act, TAIPEI Act, and Taiwan Assurance Act. The executive branch has many high-level officials that have visited Taiwan, and has also passed several arms sale packages. Taiwan citizens can clearly see the progress in Taiwan-US relations.

Taiwan-US relations are the crux of our diplomatic efforts. Whatever the outcome of the US elections, continuing to deepen relations with both the Republican and Democratic parties and striving for continued unanimous cross-party support for democratic Taiwan are our primary goals to promote the development of Taiwan-US relations.

President Tsai instructed the NSC, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States to continue to strengthen diplomatic efforts in the United States, including the effective monitoring of relevant situations and developments, striving for broad bilateral support for Taiwan, steady implementation of key ongoing policies, and identifying the priority tasks for the next several months and proactively executing them.

Taiwan and the United States are an alliance of ideals and values, and we believe that Taiwan-US relations will continue to grow stronger and deeper in the future based on our existing interaction and cooperation, and will not be affected by other variables. 

III. Stabilizing cross-strait relations

Addressing changes in cross-strait relations, President Tsai reiterated that maintaining cross-strait stability is in our common interest. Based on mutual respect, goodwill, and understanding, both sides should discuss how we can live in peace and coexist. Under the principles of parity and dignity, we are willing to work together to facilitate meaningful cross-strait dialogue. We hope the Beijing authorities will also take on that same responsibility, and make that dialogue happen soon.

IV. Stability and security of domestic politics and economics

To prevent external factors from impacting public safety and social order, the president instructed the relevant government agencies, including the Coast Guard Administration and the National Police Agency, to ensure that they maintain public safety, prevent the spread of disinformation, and strengthen the security and protection of public infrastructure, vigorously protecting Taiwan's democratic system and free way of life.

V. Future economic development

The president also instructed ministries and agencies related to finance and economics to pay special attention to changes in financial markets and the economy after the US presidential election; strengthen implementation of relief measures for industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and speed up the implementation of major investment projects and infrastructure programs to enhance our economy's resilience.

President Tsai emphasized that to address the realignment of supply chains, based on the "5+2 innovative industries plan," "Six Core Strategic Industries," and the "trillion NT-dollar investment program," the government will speed up the transformation and upgrading of domestic industries, and in coordination with the New Southbound Policy and through bilateral and multilateral economic and trade cooperation with key trade partners, assist supply chains to establish links overseas.

The president emphasized once again the need to deepen Taiwan-US economic cooperation. After we made a policy announcement relaxing restrictions on US pork and beef imports on August 28, the US Vice President, Secretary of State, members of Congress from both parties, and representatives of Taiwan and US industry immediately used numerous channels to publicly and actively respond and support closer economic cooperation with Taiwan. During a recent visit to Taiwan by US Under Secretary of State Keith Krach, the two sides engaged in wide-ranging discussions on economic matters. A bipartisan majority in the US Senate also issued a joint letter to the Office of the US Trade Representative urging the administration to begin negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan. These advances are all due to Taiwan's willingness to face and resolve problems, and demonstrate our determination to re-establish our international credibility and promote substantive progress. Based on this progress, we believe that Taiwan-US trade negotiations can continue to gain momentum and will be successful when conditions are ripe.