You can enter English or Chinese, author, topic or keyword for search. 您可以輸入中英文, 作者, 主題或關鍵字以供查詢.

News & Events
In this section you will find current news and events from ITS and other organizations.

268 articles in total 
China-Taiwan Relations and Strategies

The Center for Asia Pacific Policy, Rand Corporation, presented a half-day discussion of China’s relations with Taiwan on July 5, 2019.  The event was co-sponsored with Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR), Taiwan.  The Rand’s event program stated “China’s relations with Taiwan have varied depending on the political leadership in the two entities, and their changing concepts of security.   Military preparedness and economic power have recently emerged as additional factors in the relationship.  We will discuss these issues through the ongoing work of scholars of the region”.   Dr. Rafig Dossani, Director of Center for Asia Pacific Policy, Rand, Dr. Cheng-yi Lin, INDSR, and Abraham Chu, TECO-LA delivered opening remarks, followed by an opening speech by Minister Ming-tong Chen, Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan.  The event had three sessions: Session I: The PRC’s Taiwan Policy, Session II: The PRC’s Military Strategy, and Session III Taiwan’s China Policy and Military Strategy.   The followings are the topics and speakers for each session.

Session I: 1. Economic issues, Rafig Dossani

                  2. Geopolitical Strategy, Sale Lilly, Rand

                  3. China’s Unified Front Work toward Taiwan, Tzu-chieh hung, INDSR

                  4. Chinese Views of “One Country, Two System” and Implications for Taiwan,   

                      Derek Grossman, Rand

Session II: 1. China’s Military Modernization, Cortez Cooper, Rand

                   2. Asymmetric Military Relations across the Taiwan Strait, Jyh-shyang Sheu,    


                   3. A New Level of Warfare or More of the same? What the PLA is doing with

                      Artificial Intelligence, Christian Curriden, Rand

Session III: 1. The Political Economy of Taiwan’s Defense, Kharis Templeman, Stanford


                    2. Developing the Future: Acting Right Now through Learning from the Past,

                        Wen-jenq Chen, National Security Council, Taiwan

                    3. Scorecard: Taiwan’s Strategic Readiness and Resilience, Jyun-yi Lee, INDSR

Post: 2019-07-25
Click here to share this article with friends.
Taiwan’s Democracy and the Free and Open Pacific: A mayoral perspective

On July 10, the Wilson Center invited Cheng Wen-tsan, mayor of Taoyuan City, Taiwan, to give a talk about Taiwan’s role in Indo-Pacific region.

The Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy unveiled by President Trump has been regarded as a roadmap for U.S. engagement in Asia. It can also be seen as a new vision for the United States as it grapples with the rapidly shifting political, economic, and security realties of the region. For Taiwan, the question is how FOIP configures in defining and strengthening Washington's relations with Taipei. Join us for a discussion of FOIP with the mayor of Taoyuan City, Cheng Wen-tsan, who became the youngest mayor among Taiwan's six special municipalities when he first won his seat in 2014.

Post: 2019-07-25
Click here to share this article with friends.
Cross-Strait Relations: Present challenges & Future Developments

The Heritage Foundation and the Prospect Foundation, Taiwan, co-hosted a conference “Cross-strait relations: Present challenges and future developments” on July 2, 2019.   The agenda are shown below.


Keynote Remarks (9:30 a.m.)

Chen Ming-tong, Mainland Affairs Council Minister, Republic of China (Taiwan) Introduced by: Bridgett Wagner, Vice President, Policy Promotion, The Heritage Foundation

Host: Walter Lohman, Director, Asian Studies Center, The Heritage Foundation

Panel 1: Taiwan-US-China Relations and the Situation of the Taiwan Strait (10:30-11:45 a.m.)

I-Chung Lai, President, The Prospect Foundation
Bonnie Glaser, Senior Adviser for Asia, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Richard Bush, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Dean Cheng, Senior Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation – Moderator

Remarks by The Honorable Jonathan Moore
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Bureau of International Organization Affairs US Department of State

(11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.)


Luncheon in Allison Foyer (12:15-1:15 p.m.)

Panel 2: China Sharp Power against Taiwan and U.S. (1:30-2:45 p.m.)

Wen-Cheng Lin, President, Foundation on Asia-Pacific Peace Studies
Puma Shen, Assistant Professor, Graduate of Criminology, National Taipei University
Mark Stokes, Executive Director, Project 2049
Dan Aum, Director of the Washington, D.C. Office, The National Bureau of Asian Research - Moderator


Panel 3: Chinese Domestic Politics and Its Impacts on Taiwan-U.S.-China Relations (2:45 p.m.-4:00 p.m.)

Ho-Fung Hung, Prof. in Political Economy, Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University
Yun Sun, Director of the China Program, Stimson Center
Cheng-Yi Lin, CEO, Institute for National Defense and Security Research
I-Chung Lai, President, The Prospect Foundation – Moderator


Panel 4: Cross-Strait Economic Relations and the US-China Trade War (4:15-5:30 p.m.)

Ming-Fang Tsai, Professor, Department of Industrial Economics, Tamkang University
Rupert Hammond-Chambers, President, US Taiwan Business Council
Riley Walters, Policy Analyst, The Heritage Foundation
Walter Lohman, The Heritage Foundation – Moderator


Post: 2019-07-24
Click here to share this article with friends.
President Tsai won DPP’s presidential primary


President Tsai Ing-wen will represent the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the 2020 presidential election.   On June 13, DPP Chairman Cho Jung-tai announced that Tsai defeated former Premier Lai Ching-te in the polls conducted in the last three days.    The polls were conducted by five different pollsters in a three-way manner.  The poll compared the popularity of Tsai and Lai against Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (most likely a KMT candidate) and independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je.  Tsai beat Lai by 8.2 percentage point.  Comparing Tsai-Han-Ko, Tsai received an average support rate of 35.67%, while Han and Ko received support rates of 22.7% and 24.51%, respective4ly.  In the case of Lai-Han-Ko, the support rates are Lai 27.48%, Han 23.47% and Ko 27.38%.  The polls collected a combined total of 16,051 valid samples through cellphone and house phone interviews, accounting for 7,995 and 8,056 samples, respectively.  Each pollster was required to collect a minimum of 3000 sample (1500 minimum for both cellphone and house phone interviews).  This is the first time that a huge sample was collected through interview of cellphone and house phone in Taiwan.  The DPP's presidential primary generated lots of attention because President Tsai was challenged by her trusted right-hand man, former Premier Lai.   After announcement, Lai and Tsai chatted briefly.  Later President Tsai held a news conference that she would meet Lai in the coming days to discuss the partys election strategy.   Tsai said By having an open competition, we can have progress.  I want to thank Lai for his criticism, so that I can reflect on where my blind spots and problems are.

Post: 2019-06-21
Click here to share this article with friends.
Taiwan ranked 16th in the World Competitiveness Ranking 2019


According to the recently published “World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) 2019” by International Institute for Management Development (IMD), Lausanne, Switzerland, Taiwan ranked 16th (17th place last year) in the competitiveness scoreboard.  In the overall ranking, the top three are Singapore, Hong Kong, and USA, followed by Switzerland, UAE, Netherlands, Ireland, Demark, Sweden, and Qatar.    In Asia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China (14th) are ahead of Taiwan.  China dropped from 13th place.  Japan ranked 30th, while Korea is in 28th place.  Singapore scored 100, while Taiwan scored 88.239 and China is slightly up (88.775).  This year, the WCY provides the same extensive coverage of 63 countries. The WCY analyzes and ranks the ability of nations to create and maintain an environment that sustains the competitiveness of enterprises.  Using 333 indicators (about two-thirds hard data (hard statistics 143, background data 92); one-thirds soft data (survey data 92), the survey criteria have been selected and are grouped under four main factors: Economic Performance, Government Efficiency, Business Efficiency, and Infrastructure.  Last year IMD used 258 criteria. Taiwan’s overall ranks in four main categories are: 15 for economic performance, 12 for government efficiency, 14 for business efficiency, and 19 for infrastructure.  The business efficiency has improved sufficiently over the previous year (from 20 jumped to 14).    Taiwan’s National Development Council indicated that the main challenges in 2019 are: 1. Build a national integral strategy to meet the trends of globalization, digitalization and smartization, 2. Accelerate industrial innovation and digital transformation,  3. Improve labor participation and cultivation, and recruitment of talent, 4. Foster social cohesion and social inclusion, and 5. Towards environmental sustainability, including energy saving and carbon reduction.




Post: 2019-06-07
Click here to share this article with friends.
St .Vincent and the Grenadines Minister of Health Luke Browne delivered a powerful speech in favor of Taiwan’s participation in WHA


At the opening session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) on May 20, St.Vincent and the Grenadines Minister of Health Luke Browne delivered a powerful speech outing the common sense reasons why Taiwan should logically be included in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual forum.  The 71th WHA was held in Geneva, Switzerland.   

The following is the complete transcript of Browne's speech:

"Mr. President, we are once again debating a proposed supplementary agenda item entitled 'Inviting Taiwan to Participate in the World Health Assembly as an Observer.' I look forward to the day when the objective being pursued is achieved, the just aspirations of the Taiwanese people realized, and purely health considerations take precedence at this supposedly 'World Health Assembly.'

There's simply no principled basis why Taiwan should not be here. The argument in favor of allowing Taiwan to participate in this assembly as an observer are straightforward and clearcut.

We all know that the PRC government does not exercise authority and control over Taiwan and cannot be reasonably said to represent it here. Taiwan was never defined to be a part of the PRC, nor can it properly considered so to be, since the two places have separate, autonomous, independent, and very different governments.

The participation of Taiwan at this assembly as an observer is neither illegal, as suggested by the delegate from the People's Republic of China, nor inconsistent with any resolution. As we could see from the fact that Taiwan used to be here as an observer in previous times.

The only reason why it is not here now is because of the fact that the government in Beijing does not like the current administration in Taipei. Is this right?

Should the legitimate health interests of the 23 million people in Taiwan be held ransom to the preferences of a government? Interestingly, the fact that Taiwan was previously allowed to be here as an observer is an open acknowledgment by the PRC itself that it could not adequately represent the interests of Taiwan at this forum.

If Taiwan were really and truly a part of the PRC, should it ever have been allowed to come to this assembly as an observer? Can a part of my country, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, be invited to sit here as an observer?

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is of the view that the proposed invitation of Taiwan to participate in the World Health Assembly, at least as an observer, is not even incompatible with the oft-cited 'one China' principle. Just like the participation of several nations from the Caribbean in this forum is consistent with our cherished and valued notion of one Caribbean.

One China, just like one Caribbean, can and should only be construed as a reference to a common history, culture, and heritage. Mr. President, I ask that I incline thine ear onto wisdom and reason, apply thine heart onto understanding, and allow the supplementary item entitled 'Inviting Taiwan to Participate in the World Health Assembly as an Observer' to be placed on the agenda in the interest of the health and welfare of the 23 million people of the world located in Taiwan and universal health coverage.

Thank you."

In response, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen took Twitter to thank Browne for his “Stanch support of Taiwan”. 

Post: 2019-05-25
Click here to share this article with friends.
Pentagon assessed security in the Taiwan Strait

The Pentagon released its annual report to Congress “Military and Security Developments involving the People’s Republic of China” on May 2, 2019.  This 136-page report has 5 chapters, 1 executive summary, and 4 appendixes.    The topics for each chapter are: Chapter 1: Understanding China’s strategy; Chapter 2: Force modernization goals and trends; Chapter 3: Capabilities for operations along China’s periphery; Chapter 4: Resources for force modernization; and U.S.-China military-to-military contacts.    Regarding the security of Taiwan, the report states “China’s overall strategy toward Taiwan continues to incorporate elements of both persuasion and coercion to hinder the development of political attitudes in Taiwan favoring independence.  Although China advocates for peaceful unification with Taiwan, China has never renounced the use of military force, and continues to develop and deploy advanced military capabilities needed for a potential military campaign”.    The report used 9 pages to further describe the security in Taiwan Strait with three main subjects: 1. China’s strategy and capabilities development in the Taiwan Strait; 2. China’s courses of action against Taiwan; 3. The PLA’s current posture for a Taiwan conflict; and 4. Taiwan’s defensive capabilities.   This report also cited 7 circumstances under which China would use military force against Taiwan: 1. Formal declaration of Taiwan independence; 2. Undefined moves toward Taiwan independence; 3. Internal unrest in Taiwan; 4. Taiwan’s acquisition of nuclear weapons; 5. Indefinite delays in the resumption of cross-Strait dialogue unification; 6. Foreign intervention in Taiwan’s internal affairs; and 7. Foreign forces stationed on Taiwan.   China’s military actions against Taiwan could include the following options: 1. Air and maritime blockade; 2. Limited force or coercive options; 3. Air and missile campaign; and invasion of Taiwan.   Finally, the report mentions two key takeaways on Taiwan’ defense capabilities; 1. Taiwan’s advantages continue to decline as China’s modernization efforts continue; and 2. To counter China’s improving capabilities, Taiwan is developing new concepts and capabilities for asymmetric warfare.

Post: 2019-05-18
Click here to share this article with friends.
Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) & AIT @40: Celebrating 40 Years of Friendship

On April 15, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) held an event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the TRA at new office compound in Neihu, Taipei.  The former speaker Paul Ryan led a 20 plus delegation to bring the warmest regards from the Trump Administration and Taiwan’s countless friends in Washington.  Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, joined AIT Chairman James Moriarty and AIT Director Brent Christensen in offering remarks at the celebration.  President Tsai Ing-wen and other prominent individuals also attended the ceremony.  Following the ceremony, AIT hosted a reception highlighting forty years of U.S.-Taiwan partnership and friendship.  From April 15 through April 17, AIT and MOFA, in cooperation with Taipei 101, sponsored a light display on the side of Taipei 101 celebrating forty year friendship and partnership.   During the ceremony, President Tsai said “The TRA is more than just a policy.  It is a commitment to the values of freedom and democracy.   So on this special day, let’s pledge to bring this enduring partnership to the next level.  Let’s turn Taiwan into a regional hub that connects Asia and the rest of the world, so that the beacon of democracy can bring the light of hope to people longing to be free.  Taiwan and the US have achieved so much together over the past four decades.  I have every reason to believe that even as we are here today to honor the past, and celebrate the present, the best is yet to come.”    As the head of the US delegation, Paul Ryan delivered a short speech.   The followings are some of his remarks: “The strategy of the United States is to ensure that freedom and openness flourish in Indo-Pacific region.  In this endeavor, we couldn’t ask for a better friend than Taiwan.  Taiwan is a democratic success story, a reliable partner, and a force for good in the world.  Vice President Pence captured it well in his speech last October outlining U.S. policy toward China when he said “American will always believe that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people”, and for that matter, for all people wherever they call home.”

Post: 2019-04-18
Click here to share this article with friends.
President Tsai interviewed by CNN

On February 19, Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen was interviewed by Matt Rivers, CNN, at Presidential Building. President Tsai Ing-wen responded to questions regarding developments in the international sphere, Taiwan-US relations, and cross-strait relations.


The following is a full text of the interview:

Q: I wanted to begin with your new year's address. Earlier this year you gave an address, and you specifically said that China must respect that Taiwan will never give up its sovereignty. Explain that a little bit, and do you ever foresee, under any circumstance, Taiwan reunifying with the Mainland? 

A: We need to look at the current overall international situation and Taiwan's own situation. We are facing a China that is growing stronger and stronger, and its ambitions are also getting stronger and stronger. In fact, it seeks to become a world hegemony. If we look back, Taiwan has been a successful example with respect to the development of its economy, democratic system, and core values, such as human rights and freedom. Taiwan has done well in such areas. We, the people of Taiwan, are very proud of the progress made over these past postwar decades. 

However, unlike before, the China that we are facing has become stronger by the day, as has its ambition. The threat from China is also growing. Under such circumstances, our greatest challenge is whether we can continue to maintain our independent existence and security, our prosperity from economic development, and our democracy. To Taiwan, this is the most important question at hand. 

Chairman Xi Jinping's New Year's address alerted Taiwan to the fact that its independent existence could be changed, because Xi has started to talk about unification and the "one country, two systems" concept. This is a grave warning to the people of Taiwan. We had to immediately and clearly reiterate that the people of Taiwan cannot accept "one country, two systems." 

We realize that we cannot convey a vague message out of courtesy or diplomatic considerations. We must clearly tell China's leaders that Taiwan will not accept "one country, two systems." 

Here I would like to especially say that China's ambitions and intentions do not just involve Taiwan. It seeks opportunities to control or influence all countries in the region, and even beyond. China's pressure on Taiwan is an issue not only for Taiwan, but for all regional countries and beyond. It is a problem that all of us must face together. 


Q: Going back a little bit to what you first talked with Xi Jinping. We've heard President Xi's rhetoric about "never losing an inch of our motherland." We've seen his practice of increasing military drills around Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait. How have such threats affected your policy, your policy making here in Taiwan and have they forced you, has his rhetoric forced you, or China's policies forced you, to become more hardline yourself? 

A: Indeed China has steadily stepped up its military threat against Taiwan. In fact, its military threat is not limited to Taiwan. It extends to the entire region. China has certainly increased its military preparedness and capability rapidly over the past few decades. This has awoken us to the fact that we must continue to enhance our own defense capability. We must reevaluate our strategies, especially in drawing up an asymmetrical warfare approach. 

We also hope that if we are threated militarily by China, many neighboring countries and like-minded nations will come together in support of Taiwan. We hope they will safeguard Taiwan, this very important place in terms of security, industry, and free and democratic development. 


Q: Given that threat, given what we're seeing in Chinese state media, certain pundits in Chinese state media have been fueling speculation over an invasion sooner rather than later. How concerned are you about that scenario? Do you think that state media in China is bluffing, or do you see Taiwan facing an unprecedented existential crisis?

A: I don't think that any president or leader would rule out the possibility of military conflict. That's why we have to ensure that our military preparedness is at its best at all times. However, military action must come from a formal political decision. Therefore, in our many political deliberations and counterstrategies, we must take into account how to increase the political cost that China would incur if it were to use force against Taiwan. If the political cost is high enough, I don't believe that the Chinese leader would rashly resort to military action. 


Q: Clearly Beijing is trying to extract both political and also economic costs on you and Taiwan as a whole. Airlines, automakers, clothing lines--even the bakery, I believe, that you visited in California have been pressured by Beijing. Do you find it frustrating, depressing as the leader of Taiwan that you consistently see those kind of actions from Beijing, and what do you think you can do to change that?

A: I think that perhaps China believes that by doing this, it would make the Taiwanese people feel even more frustrated, that it would lower our morale. In reality, if we observe the Taiwanese people, every time such an incident occurs, we all become very angry. We feel less and less amicable toward China. What I want to say is that such actions by China actually have the opposite effect on Taiwan. They do not, as China imagines, force the Taiwanese people to concede. They do not produce the intended result. 


Q: We saw the KMT make significant gains in recent local elections. What do you take away from that, and is that not a clear signal from the public that they are dissatisfied with the current direction of the country or of Taiwan?  And what is the message that the people send to you and your administration?

A: The recent local elections were simply that, local. The main focus was issues of domestic policy. Since I took office in May 2016, we have made some bold moves regarding reform, including pension reform. People affected by these moves were displeased, and their disaffection accumulated and spread. At the same time, Taiwan's society has seen differing opinions on divisive issues, for example same-sex marriage. During the elections, there was a clash of opinions. 

Also, certain domestic policy measures did not address the needs of the vulnerable. As a result of such issues, the people decided to send a warning to the governing party during these local elections. But as these were local elections, cross-strait relations were not a key issue. So the results cannot be interpreted to mean a change in attitude toward China. 


Q: Speaking of elections, we have seen disinformation campaigns run by autocratic governments across the world. Your government has said that it too is worried about disinformation campaigns. What did you see in terms of a specific disinformation campaign during the last set of elections and are you worried about another disinformation campaign during the upcoming elections in 2020?

A: Disinformation was indeed an important issue in this past election. In addition to disinformation, attacks by external cyber forces also had a major impact. Some disinformation was from within Taiwan, but a great deal was manufactured elsewhere. Accounts in many nations were used to send disinformation to Taiwan. Disinformation definitely had an impact on voters' judgment in this election, that is true. After the election we began to discuss how to address disinformation because it had already harmed our democracy. 

In a democracy, people vote to express their opinion. But voters must be acting on accurate information. If their information is false, the ballot they cast will show a bias. Under such conditions, democracy is harmed.

Regardless of political party, we all have a common interest. Taiwan's democracy must be a well-functioning democracy. We must have a solution to deal with disinformation and cyberattacks from certain sources. So on the one hand, we are strengthening our legal framework to manage these issues. On the other, we are improving the government's ability to make clarifications. Most importantly, disinformation is largely coming in from outside Taiwan using foreign accounts. This means Taiwan is not the only one who suffers. Transnational cooperation is required. We have started to discuss such cooperation to fight disinformation with other countries. 


Q: So I'd like to move to your relationship with the United States, and starting with then President-elect Donald Trump. He accepted, in an unprecedented move, a congratulatory call from you shortly after the election in 2016 before he took office. What did that signify to you? 

A: I was grateful to have this opportunity to speak directly with the President of the United States. This happened just after President Trump won the election. Through the phone call, we hoped to congratulate him. We also briefly exchanged ideas on bilateral ties. This was the first phone call involving the presidents of our respective nations since we broke diplomatic ties with the United States nearly four decades ago. But there was something more important than the content or fact of the phone call. The call was meaningful because it bolstered communication between the US and Taiwan. This means more effective communication at a higher level. With this, bilateral ties can advance, or the likelihood of progress grows. So I was grateful to have this opportunity, as it meant we are communicating at a higher level, even if it isn't always at the presidential level. 


Q: And yet we do know that Donald Trump is an unconventional US president. Given how we have seen him buck other international norms throughout his presidency, and given the United States' current priority in making deals with the Mainland, how would you address those concerns?

A: We understand that any President, when making decisions, has to consider many factors, especially the interests of his or her own country. In this vein, President Trump has consistently stressed America First.

As for how we manage relations with the US or other countries, looking at our current situation, and with the pressure from China, the level of uncertainty is indeed relatively high in many regards. We are very accustomed to dealing with such uncertainty and making sure that it does not fundamentally affect our decision-making model. 


Q: A group of Senators in the US recently asked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to formally extend an invitation to you to address a joint session of Congress. Should that invitation ever be formally extended to you by the Speaker of the House, would you accept it?

A: This is not a simple question of extending and accepting an invitation. Before issuing such an invitation, the US would certainly take into account its own interests and assess the overall political situation. From our perspective, would we accept such an invitation if it were extended? We would have to look at it from several angles. Would delivering an address in Washington, DC, be in the interests of Taiwan, benefit Taiwan-US relations, and serve peace and stability in the region? It would require comprehensive consideration. If such an invitation were in fact to be extended—which at the moment is still very much hypothetical—we would deal with it very carefully. Let me reiterate that we would take into account Taiwan's own interests, regional stability, as well as Taiwan-US relations. We would seek to do a very thorough evaluation.


Q: I wanted to ask you about the US launching a campaign against certain Chinese tech firms, most notably Huawei, basically accusing companies like Huawei of acting in concert with Beijing, acting as an arm of the surveillance state. The US has encouraged other countries not to use Huawei products. In your experience, are those concerns justified based on what you've seen here in Taiwan in similar circumstances and what would your advice be to the US and another countries facing this situation?

A: In terms of managing the Huawei situation, we've taken an extremely cautious attitude, too. Our government has a special task force to deal with this. In terms of restrictions, we've limited the use of Huawei products at government agencies or organizations that have access to more sensitive information.


Q: So with the Taiwan Travel Act, with the US approval to sell certain submarine technology to Taiwan, we have seen signs that the US military and government is strengthening its ties with Taiwan. That said, what we also hear is President Xi routinely using the kind of rhetoric saying that he will never renounce the use of force. So forgive the blunt question but: "If China invaded tomorrow, would you count on the US military to be there?"

A: Our defenses are well prepared for an attack at any time—for any situation where we would need to fend China off for 24 hours. So looking at Taiwan's defense capabilities for this kind of situation, we are capable of holding off any first wave of attacks. So I think that for China itself, after its first wave of attacks, it would have to respond to international pressure, and the shock to its own economy. So we would hope that after withstanding any first wave of attacks ourselves, other countries throughout the world would stand up in unison and put strong pressure upon China in response.


Q: And you are confident that they would do so led by the United States?

A: It's rather like I already mentioned. If it's Taiwan today, then everyone is sure to ask, "Which country will it be tomorrow?" There are countries in the region who might wonder whether they will be facing the same military threats if they fail to toe China's line. So I don't think any attack is something that Taiwan would have to put up with purely on its own. It would reveal China's intent, showing that China will not hesitate to use military power in seeking to promote its expansionist ambitions. 

So under such circumstances, not only Taiwan's interests would be impacted. The overall interests impacted, and the potential damage, would be regional, or even global.


Q: And here you are, sitting here as the President of Taiwan, but more than that, you are also one of the only female political leaders in the world. What does that mean to you?

A: Being the female President of Taiwan is very meaningful. Taiwan is the first democracy in the long history of the ethnic Chinese world, and this democracy produced a female leader. In other words, women should not be restricted. There is no limit to what women can achieve. Looking at it from another perspective, Taiwan's democracy is a truly commendable achievement. It is indeed very meaningful for the development of democracy in general that such an excellent democracy could appear in the ethnic Chinese world and that it could produce a female President.


Q: And yet what we see are certain Chinese officials, certain state media, they attack you constantly, not just your policies but personally. They used quotes saying that you're emotional, and extreme as a leader. And it's directly tied to you being a woman oftentimes. How do you not take that personally? How do you deal with those kinds of verbal assaults?

A: Such assaults happen every day. They come not just from China but also from within Taiwan. Leaders, whether male or female, have to face a wide array of attacks. Many of these attacks are based on conjecture, or created on purpose. They often stem from false information or distortions of facts. The most important thing is that a leader's judgment is not affected by these deliberate attacks. Perhaps the goal of people initiating these attacks is to impact the determination or judgment of leaders. Our most important task is to understand why people make these attacks and make sure we are not affected by them.


Q: Is there a part of you that hates having to answer questions about being a female politician? But is there not a part of you that wishes that female leaders were normalized enough that in every single profile interview you do, you would not have to answer these kinds of questions?

A: Until female leaders are a normal and common sight, every female leader, including myself, has an obligation to answer related questions.

Regardless of whether I like these questions, I believe I have an obligation to answer them on behalf of women. 


Q: I wanted to ask you about your dogs and cats, who have kind of become famous in their own right, throughout the campaign, social media. How much is being an animal lover, how much is having a full house of animals, three dogs two cats, how much is that a part of who you are?

A: Of course, I greatly cherish these animals, and I enjoy interacting with them, I hope that they can have a happier life. But I also want to convey a message to the public with my cats and dogs. My cats are rescued strays, and my dogs are retired guide dogs. Many in our society choose not to care for such animals. But I want to show that retired dogs can be just as cute and loveable. Rescued cats are just as capable of interacting with you emotionally, and are often more intelligent. They very much deserve to be properly appreciated. By doing this as President, I hope that others can follow my lead and cherish these stray animals and these retired and older dogs, and make a greater effort to care for them.


Q: And finally, Madam President, I wondered if I might get you tell us something about yourself that maybe the public doesn't know. Did you ever skip a class in high school? What's your favorite karaoke song? Tell me something that maybe the public doesn't know about you, and maybe they'd be surprised by.

A: After so many elections, there's not much left the public doesn't know. But in answer to your question, yes, there were times I really didn't want to go to class, so I skipped it. 

As to karaoke, no one has ever asked me this before, I can answer that. Yes, I've been to karaoke, but I never sang. Usually when I went with friends, I would bring a book and listen to them singing.


Q: I just wanted to ask you, I guess while we're on the plane about the rigors of the job. Is being president something, that, obviously we know it's a 24/7 kind of job. Does the relentlessness of the work ever get to you, you know, in terms of having to constantly be on call and doing things every day?

A: Well, once you get used to it, it's the life of every politician I guess. Especially elected politicians. You have to prepare to meet with different people at different times and perhaps the first ten minutes you meet with a group, and another ten minutes with another group. So, you have to change your mind, and get yourself prepared for another group in five or ten minutes.


Q: Yeah, you're wearing different hats. Yeah, yeah. Is there anything you look back on in your first couple years in office and say, "That's a regret" or "That's a disappointment," something you could've or should have done differently?

A: Well, that is a tough question. I think for the first and the first half of the second year, I spent too much time managing government affairs, and I also spent a lot of time making foreign visits to our diplomatic allies. So I sort of, many people thought that I was a bit detached from them, because when I was an opposition leader, when I was a presidential candidate, they saw me all the time, talking to them directly. When I became the president, I seemed to be somewhat rather isolated and they feel that there was a distance of some sort between me and them. So if I regret anything, I would say, yes for the first one-and-a-half years, perhaps I should spend more time to go out and to meet with people and talk to them. So that they can get a sense that this is a politician that we are familiar with.


Q: Any thoughts on 2020 yet? Whether you're going to seek reelection, or any thoughts on your future? 

A: Well, it's natural that any sitting president wants to do more the country, wants to finish things on his or her agenda, and it's quite natural for a president seeking another four years to complete his or her agenda.


Post: 2019-03-05
Click here to share this article with friends.
Five U.S. senators asked Pelosi to invite President Tsai to address Congress

On February 7, U.S. Senators Cory Gardner, Macro Rubio, Tom Cotton, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to invite Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen to address Congress during a joint session later this year as part of celebrations surrounding the 40th anniversary of Taiwan Relations Act.    This is the first time that the influential senators openly urged the House Speaker to look into the possibility of inviting President Tsai.  It is very obvious that the senators’ intension is to protect Taiwan and in the mean time to send a “powerful message” to China.  This might also help President Trump during the current negotiation on US-China trade issues.  

The following is full text.

Madam Speaker:

We write to respectfully urge you to invite Tsai Ing-Wen, the President of Taiwan, to address a joint session of Congress in the near future. This invitation would be consistent with U.S. law, enhance U.S. leadership in the Indo-Pacific region, and justly reward a true friend and ally of the United States and the American people.

As you know, April 10th will mark the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). The TRA forms the basis of the U.S. unofficial relationship with Taiwan. In particular, the TRA requires “to make clear that the United States decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China rests upon the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means.” 

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has continued to escalate its rhetoric and actions that threaten Taiwan’s democracy and sovereignty. Since the May 2016 inauguration of President Tsai, five nations have withdrawn diplomatic recognition from Taiwan, due to pressure from Beijing. In his New Year’s message earlier this month, PRC President Xi Jinping would not rule out the use of force to “re-unify” mainland China and Taiwan.

Since the TRA went into effect, Congress has expressed near-unanimous bipartisan support for Taiwan, including encouraging high-level leader visits between Taiwan and the United States. Most recently, the Taiwan Travel Act (P.L. 115-135), signed into law on March 16, 2018, explicitly allows “high-level officials of Taiwan to enter the United States, under conditions which demonstrate appropriate respect for the dignity of such officials, and to meet with officials of the United States.” The Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-409), signed into law on December 31, 2018, re-affirms the provisions of the Taiwan Travel Act.  

While we understand that the honor of addressing a joint address to Congress is generally reserved for recognized heads of state, there is also clear precedent for inviting prominent democratic leaders. On November 15, 1989, Lech Walesa addressed a joint session of Congress as chairman of the Solidarity movement. On June 26, 1990, Nelson Mandela addressed a joint session of Congress as deputy president of the African National Congress. 

President Tsai is a genuine democratic leader engaged in a struggle against an authoritarian and oppressive system that seeks to deny the Taiwanese people democratic rights and fundamental freedoms.  Extending an invitation for President Tsai to address a joint session of Congress in this historic year for U.S.-Taiwan relations would send a powerful message that the United States and the American people will always stand with the oppressed, and never the oppressor. 

We urge you to favorably consider this request.

Post: 2019-02-20
Click here to share this article with friends.

Home | Commentary & Opinion | News & Events | ITS Reports | About ITS

Copyright c 2009 Institute for Taiwanese Studies (ITS). All Rights Reserved.