Distinguished guests, diplomatic envoys and delegates,all participants and media representatives, good morning.Welcome to the international think tank forum, jointly organized and supported by Taiwan Thinktank and the Global Taiwan Institute (GTI).
Taiwan Thinktank has long been dedicated to domestic policy studies, and has continuously worked on track-two diplomacy.
In the past, Taiwan Thinktank held many “talks on the US-Japan-Taiwan triangle strategies” with the American Heritage Foundation and Japan’s Okazaki Institute. Early this year, we also discussed issues regarding potential cooperation on technology policies between Taiwan and the US with the US-based Project 2049 Institute.Our goals are to expand Taiwan’s international network, and further consolidate and promote Taiwan’s visibility in the international community through think tank diplomacy.
In April, President Tsai Ing-wen pointed out that all administrative agencies must build a new framework for Taiwan-US relations with a new mindset based on strategic partnership. She indicated that the complex and ever-changing external situations have brought both challenges and opportunities to Taiwan. We need to address the drastic changes in global trade and economic order from a more comprehensive perspective and with a holistic approach to review and planning, ranging from macro-economic strategy, external trade and economic strategies, to our trade and economic relations, exchanges and collaborations with our major trade partners such as the US, Japan, and Europe.
With this background, as the Chairman of Taiwan Thinktank, one of the most important independent think tanks in Taiwan, I nstructed our colleagues to brainstorm and organize this Taiwan-US forum, with the hope of inspiring more innovative and creative ideas on developing a new framework of Taiwan-US relations through the collaboration between think tanks in Taiwan and the US. Right before the forum, President Tsai met with me and our distinguished guests from the US, so we could report on this forum to her directly. President Tsai was pleased to meet some old friends and conveyed her high expectations for our discussions today.
In today’s forum, we will focus on three major subjects.
They are: “The Trump Administration’s Diplomatic and Security Strategy”; the “Changing Dynamics in East Asia and US-China Relations”; and “A New Framework for Taiwan-US Relations.” In particular, it is both important and meaningful to have distinguished experts and scholars from Taiwan and the US gathering together here today, discussing these three major topics, after both Taiwan and the US successively and successfully elected the new leaders by a genuine democratic process. What we are facing today are multiple complex, interrelated, and newly emerging issues that go beyond the existing international framework, looming and even challenging the international order in Asia-Pacific region.
For Taiwan, we must clearly and thoroughly understand the core values and interests shared by the democratic countries, of which the US is the most important, with unparalleled influence in the world.
As a result, our top priority is to ponder the common strategic interests between Taiwan and the US, and clarify the unsolvable issues that they face under the existing framework.
When we view the world with a global economic and strategic perspective, we see that the policy proposed by the DPP government is in line with the US policy. Two days ago, I, as the Mayor of Taichung, just wrapped up my visit to the Silicon Valley in the US. During this trip, I visited some top-notch corporations, such as Apple Inc.,Cisco, Rockwell, NVIDIA, and Micron, among others. I have learned about “machine learning,” “intelligent transportation systems,” and the administration of a sports park. We ended up promoting several industry-university cooperative projects between Taiwan and the US, after visiting some American universities and enterprises. This trip reinforced my understanding of the multiple common strategic interests shared by Taiwan and the US. There also exist great opportunities for potential cooperation over issues such as economy and security.
Compared to the Chinese style of Red Supply Chain, the Korean style of monopolized supply chains, or the independent industrial chain in Japan, Taiwan and the US have had rich cooperation experiences with our supply chains that have served the national interests of both countries. Our previous successes were built on three cornerstones: the leading technology and manufacturing brands in the US; the power of the final consumer market in the US; and the solid and progressive Taiwanese OEM capabilities. These three cornerstones have provided the foundation for a cooperative Taiwan-US supply chain. The personal computer is one prime testament to the success of this bilateral cooperation.
The period from the end of the 1970s to the mid 1980s has been labelled the Golden Decade of Japan. It was a time when Japanese high-tech products swept the world. Japan led in both technology and production of video players, the Walkman, the super computer and automobiles. But the American revolutions in new industries in the 1990s overturned the Golden Decade of Japan. The key shift was the thriving developments in personal computing at the end of the 1980s and throughout 1990s. The boom in personal computers secured the US’s leading position in world manufacturing, and the success was a result of the cooperative Taiwan-US supply chain. The US owned the leading technology and manufacturing brands in the upstream and the final consumer market in the downstream. Taiwan occupied the middle with solid and progressive OEM capabilities to support their well-functioning supply chain. The rise and consolidation of the complete supply chain propelled the US to the top of world manufacturing and also laid the foundation for the Taiwanese economic development of the past three decades. Our successful partnership has secured greater competitiveness for both countries as both sides have enjoyed mutual gain through the complementary division of work, as the interests of both sides are shared but not monopolized unilaterally by either.
Facing new economic needs resulting from our new era and new manufacturing technologies, we firmly believe that our two countries can again pursue success hand-in-hand.Combining the three cornerstones of the US--“research and design,” “brand innovation,” and a powerful consumer market--with Taiwan’s quality production capabilities, we can form a new Taiwan-US Supply Chain. This new supply chain also fulfils President Trump’s call for “Made in the USA” and reduces manufacturing centralization in China. The new Taiwan-US Supply Chain is also in line with Taiwan’s New South Bound Policy. It is truly a win-win approach in the time of our new Taiwan-US partnership.
It is clear that both Taiwan and the US share common values and interests, in spite of the existence of several key unsolvable issues between the two countries. We would like to suggest that some key issues need to be worked out now. Particularly, given its geopolitical and strategic interests, the US has for a long time neither officially recognized the ROC government nor accepted a new country name to replace the old one. In view of new realities in international relations and new domestic needs, pushing the development of a new framework for Taiwan-US relations going forward requires both sides to consider and work through this issue together.
Sidestepping it would hamper the joint promotion of cooperation from both sides, as China is clearly trying to revise the existing international structure. Both the “Taiwan Travel Act” and the “National Defense Authorization Act” proposed by the US congress could be positive contributions to our joint construction of the new framework.
Yet, current relations between Taiwan and the US might not fully define or facilitate the substantive interaction between the two countries, especially when we take the strategic importance of Taiwan in geopolitics into account. In fact, Taiwan is a significant partner to the US not only in economic issues but also in issues such as regional security, global counter-terrorism, and humanitarian aid, among others. From this angle, rather than piecemeal patches with individual bills, a more adaptable and forward-looking Taiwan-US relationship must be based on a holistic framework. It requires a break from traditional views and a fresh mindset, as well as the continuous cooperation between think tanks from both countries to achieve this goal. We expect that brainstorming by the experts from both sides will inspire innovative thinking and ideas, ultimately providing productive and feasible suggestions to the policymakers in both governments.
This is also a reason why the Taiwan Thinktank works with the GTI. The newly established Global Taiwan Institute aims to strengthen Taiwan-US relations and is committed to promoting constructive and enhanced engagement with Taiwan, through the joint efforts of outstanding Taiwanese and American talents.
Today’s forum, with important contributions from both Taiwan Thinktank and GTI, will act as a milestone. We expect innovative proposals that facilitate Taiwan-US relations will be made in the forum, helping to develop a new framework for Taiwan-US relations.
It is important to note that the cooperation between both think tanks will not be a “one-off” thing. Instead, we expect a long-term collaboration. Taiwan Thinktank will continue to promote think-tank diplomacy in the future, connecting Taiwan to the world with knowledge and dialogue.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone again for attending this forum. We hope and expect that your participation in the dialogues and conversations here will prove rewarding. Thank you very much.