Lai Delivers Speech on Foreign-Policy Platform at DPP Diplomatic Reception
Chairman Lai Ching-te delivered a speech on his foreign-policy platform at the DPP Diplomatic Reception on October 26, 2023.
Below are his full remarks.
Good evening distinguished ambassadors, representatives, diplomats, and friends. I want to welcome you all to this diplomatic reception held by the DPP.
Just now, we saw performances representing the rich tapestry of Taiwan’s culture, history, and people. I am grateful to the young performers from our indigenous and new immigrant communities for showcasing their talents. Please join me in once again giving them a round of applause.
Tonight, we are gathered here amidst an extraordinary election campaign. For the first time since 1996, we have four major candidates in the race. At the legislative level, there are also numerous parties and independent candidates across the country, representing different ideologies, personalities, and policies.
All of them are symbolic of the strength of Taiwan’s democracy, the power of our convictions, and the determination of all Taiwanese to forge a better future not through force or intimidation, but through civil discourse and the ballot box.
Democracy, peace, and prosperity. These words stand for more than the DPP; they represent the common aspirations of the Taiwanese people. Tonight, I want to share how I plan to carry these principles onward.
First, let me start with democracy, a value that is in the DNA of the Taiwanese people. Both in Taiwan and around the world, democracy is increasingly under siege. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has highlighted inherent contradictions between freedom and authoritarianism. Growing PRC military adventurism in the region have also increased risks of accidents and misunderstandings.
In a future Lai administration, Taiwan will be at the center of supporting democratic values worldwide. We will redouble efforts to contribute meaningfully to global democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. We will empower NGOs and institutions, such as the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, to further share Taiwan’s democratic achievements and build stronger international connections in support of our shared values.
We will acknowledge and support the idea that the defense of democracy anywhere is the defense of democracy everywhere. In doing so, we will commit to assisting the people of Ukraine by providing more humanitarian assistance and supporting the rebuilding of cities and communities.
We must also be clear-eyed about the growing hybrid and cognitive threats, particularly in light of new developments in AI and deep fakes. Taiwan is seen as “ground zero” for disinformation, designed to sow doubt in our institutions, divide our society, and undermine our democracy. We must fight vigorously against these efforts and engage with like-minded partners to exchange best practices, forging a common defense for democracies around the world.
Second, Taiwan will be a proactive contributor to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the Indo-Pacific region. We will not bow down in the face of pressure, but neither will we provoke, serving the interests of the Taiwanese people and the international community. This is my commitment, as well as Taiwan’s responsibility to the world.
During my term in office, Taiwan will work with international partners to maintain the status quo, ensuring peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. I will uphold President Tsai Ing-wen’s “Four Commitments” and support cross-strait dialogue, based on the principles of parity and dignity. As I have made clear in the past, I hope that both sides can cooperate to uphold the existing international order and jointly contribute to the prosperity of the Taiwan Strait and the well-being of the people. In addition to this, I have also outlined a four-pillar plan to preserve peace across the Taiwan Strait. This includes renewing our focus on defense deterrence, international cooperation, economic security, as well as the stable and consistent cross-strait leadership.
But more than just hard power, peace is also reliant on Taiwan being an indispensable part of the global community. By fully embracing the spirit of “Taiwan Can Help,” we will contribute more in areas ranging from public health, agriculture, infrastructure, to international humanitarian assistance. Moreover, we will establish Taiwan as a world-class center for Chinese-language education, sharing globally Taiwan’s multifaceted cultural environment.
Third, we will build greater prosperity both at home and abroad.
Foremost in this area is furthering our continued partnership with our diplomatic allies. I am grateful for their unwavering support in international organizations, including at the UN General Assembly last month. Looking forward, Taiwan will enhance our diplomatic partnerships in the areas of the infrastructure, trade, and investment.
This includes overhauling our development finance framework to better support private sector initiatives. We will coordinate with like-minded partners on sustainable projects in support of development and economic growth. We will take a lead in organizing multinational investment delegations, increasing private-sector investment and fostering closer international cooperation.
I will also prioritize closer bilateral and multilateral trade ties with the global community. Under the Tsai administration, we have seen a flurry of activity. Last year, Taiwan and the U.S. signed the Initiative on 21st Century Trade. We are engaged in preliminary talks on new trade partnership with the UK. There is also confidence that we will complete an investment agreement, FIPA, with Canada.
Looking forward, we will be steadfast in our approach to joining CPTPP, which is in the interest of all 12 signatories. There will be a continuation of the New Southbound Policy. Our foreign and trade policies service Taiwanese businesses, creating for them an international presence where the sun never sets.
But trade priorities must also be accompanied by an emphasis on economic security. We will have a whole-of-government approach on strengthening economic resiliency. This will focus on areas ranging from supply chain security to better protecting ourselves against economic coercion from the PRC.
Faced with growing complexities around the world, we must be clear-eyed about our challenges, and determined in pursuit of our values and interests. We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to democracy, peace, and prosperity, which are essential to forging a new era of values-based diplomacy.
I continue to be grateful for your longstanding friendship and support for Taiwan. I look forward to working with all of you to further our partnerships in the years ahead. Together, we can demonstrate that Taiwan is not just a democratic success story, but an essential partner for a brighter, peaceful, and more prosperous future.