More than 150 guests attended the event, including diplomats from 64 countries, politicians and chamber of commerce officials here in Taiwan. More than 36 ambassadors and representatives took part in the celebration.
Dr. Tsai Ing-wen’s speech is as follows:
Fostering Peace through Global Contribution:
A Pragmatic and Sustainable Approach to Taiwan’s Foreign Policy
Your excellencies, members of the diplomatic community, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
Good afternoon and thank you for joining us at the DPP’s 29th anniversary reception. I am thrilled to see so many familiar faces in the room, which serves as a good reminder of how hard our team is working, and the importance we attach to our international friends.
Let me also extend a warm welcome to the new heads of mission that have joined us in the past year.
As chairperson of the DPP, it is my pleasure to welcome all of you to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the DPP’s founding. This year’s celebration arrives at a time of great significance for Taiwan.
DPP’s Vision for Taiwan
In less than four months’ time, the people of Taiwan will be choosing a new leader and a new way forward for this country.
This leader will be facing a multitude of great challenges: from revitalizing the economy, regaining the public’s trust in government, to ensuring that Taiwan remains strong and secure in a region with growing uncertainties.
But with these trials, I’m reminded of an image that hangs near the entrance to the DPP party headquarters. A picture of 18 courageous men and women that established the DPP and charted the course for democracy for Taiwan. Despite the threats to their lives and imprisonment, their vision for Taiwan is a country based on freedom, dignity, and the right to determine their own future.
The same spirit and resolve we saw 29 years ago carries over today. They remind us that we can – and we will – overcome the challenges. They inspire us to continue charting a better course forward for Taiwan.
Ladies and gentlemen, Taiwan’s position in the world is premised on keeping our international relations strong and vibrant. This is the foundation of what keeps Taiwan secure; and vital to our efforts to diversify our economy.
Therefore, the key message I bring this afternoon is to say how much the DPP values the friendships and partnerships of each and every one of the countries represented here.
Some of us may share different interests – and some of our perspectives on certain issues may differ. But fundamentally, I believe that we are all working towards a common goal: peace, stability, and prosperity.
This forms the basis of the DPP’s foreign policy agenda.
Regional Efforts and International Participation
On this agenda, sustaining peaceful international relations is a responsibility shared by all members of the global community. The DPP intends to fulfill our share of this duty in building a steady and consistent regional and international environment.
This is essential for Taiwan as we tackle difficult economic and social reforms at home.
One of our foremost priorities is to foster regional cooperation by participating in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, disease prevention, and climate change mitigation efforts.
As we closely monitor international events, including the Syrian refugee crisis, we believe there is a clear need to establish a domestic legal mechanism that will enable Taiwan to join international efforts to assist refugees.
Furthermore, we plan to expand operations at our rescue training center in central Taiwan, where we will share Taiwan’s valuable experiences in responding to natural disasters at a regional level. We will also actively work to reduce tensions in regional flashpoints, such as the South China Sea, where confrontation is threatening to roll-back decades of peaceful relations in the region.
While being mindful of our strategic interests in the area, we are ready to engage in dialogue with different parties with the purpose of finding a diplomatic solution.
To achieve this, a future DPP administration will be committed to following both international law, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and respecting the freedom of navigation. We also see great potential for Taiwan to play a more valuable role globally.
One of Taiwan’s most valuable assets is our vibrant civil society. The DPP has a long history of working with civil and social groups. We will continue to expand our work together to enhance Taiwan’s international cooperation.
Long-term partnerships with NGOs – from both Taiwan and abroad – will form the backbone for a pragmatic approach towards our global outreach. Through NGOs, we will seek to open up new venues that will enable Taiwan to make meaningful contributions abroad.
As an example of this, we intend to establish an international center for NGOs to ensure Taiwan becomes a regional leader in supporting the valuable work conducted by these organizations. We believe that these efforts provide us with a stronger foundation, as we seek to participate in key international organizations, such as the WHA, ICAO, and Interpol.
To achieve this objective, we will also seek support from the international community in the years ahead.
Building Stronger International Partnerships
Second, we are devoted to building sustainable relationships with our friends from around the world.
As we look towards the future, we will identify and recalibrate our relations based on our shared interests and responsibilities. This will be the foundation on which we will expand both dialogue and cooperation.
One of our priorities is to strengthen our partnerships with the United States, Japan, and other like-minded democracies from around the world.
It is in our national interest to have strong and healthy relationships here by expanding our economic and cultural ties, and engage in dialogue on regional security and economic integration, such as joining the TPP.
Mutual trust, respect, and communication will form the three pillars of these relationships. Equally as important is to reinforce our relations with our diplomatic allies.
I was pleased to host a dinner attended by many ambassadors of our diplomatic allies earlier this year. As I mentioned there, if elected next year, my administration will work even harder to strengthen bilateral ties on the basis of building long-term, sustainable partnerships.
The future DPP administration will engage actively with our diplomatic allies to identify new opportunities centered on education, culture, investment, and economic collaboration.
Europe is another region in which we see great opportunity. We will seek to strengthen our exchanges in fields such as innovation, high tech, green energy, as well as youth and NGO engagements.
European efforts in building new energy and certain competitive agricultural sectors also hold important examples for Taiwan as we deal with our own economic challenges.
I look forward to a strong economic engagement with our European friends that can leverage and expand our cooperation in these areas.
Another one of our international priorities is to build up our relations with our neighbors in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. I am pleased to announce that a future DPP administration will pursue a ‘New Southbound Policy’ in the years ahead.
In the past, our ‘Southbound Policy’ was based on directing Taiwanese investment into Southeast Asian countries.
Looking forward, trade and investment will form just one component of a diverse and multifaceted partnership, based on the strong people-to-people, cultural, educational and research linkages we have.
ASEAN and India are poised to become two of the world’s largest economic bodies. Strengthening our overall relations is a natural choice for Taiwan as we diversify our economic and trade ties.
In the future, we will form a new task force to actively pursue this policy objective.
New Innovative Approaches to Foreign Affairs
Over the past three months, we’ve started a series of meetings with DPP municipal governments to discuss ways to strengthen city-to-city diplomacy. In the future, a DPP administration will establish a platform to help build and coordinate global ties for all municipalities across Taiwan.
Furthermore, the DPP has always prided itself as being a party that better understands the concerns of today’s youth. Under a future DPP administration, we will strive to provide youths with more opportunities to engage in meaningful projects abroad.
In the coming years, our foreign policy will also play a more complementary role in developing our economy.
As a country reliant on international trade, Taiwan has a long-tradition of businesses willing to explore opportunities abroad. Our foreign affairs institutions will have to play a more prominent part in coordinating and facilitating these efforts.
With this in mind, we will establish new benchmarks in how the effectiveness of our oversea missions will be measured: in terms of promoting bilateral trade and investment, as well as productive exchanges between our industries, talent, and innovation sectors.
These new initiatives will help rebrand and reshape our international image as a country that can play a positive and dynamic role in the 21st century. They will form an important part of our efforts to build confidence and earn respect from the international community.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is our pledge that Taiwan’s foreign policy will be stable, consistent and forward looking. We will make ourselves a responsible and indispensable partner in the international community.
We will endeavor to build better and more engaging partnerships with our friends from around the world.
I am confident that our new diplomatic initiatives will be supported by bringing together with global society our municipal governments, civil society, the private sector, and the younger generation.
Our agenda represent the commitment that our future foreign policy will fulfill the high expectations the international community has for a future DPP administration.
Thank you for coming today to our 29th birthday.
To the friendship and cooperation between Taiwan and our friends from around the world.