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Closing remarks by Deputy Minister Tien, Chung-Kwang at the Ketagalan Forum: 2021 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue

  • Data Source:Department of Policy Planning
  • Date:2021-08-31

Tien, Chung-kwang
 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs 
 Republic of China (Taiwan) 
 August 31, 2021
(As Delivered)

Good afternoon! 


It is an honor to speak with you today. On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan), I would like to extend my gratitude to all of you for participating in the Ketagalan Forum online to consider the traditional and nontraditional threats and challenges we will face in the post-COVID-19 world.


Today, our forum had quite a number of productive discussions, more than 20 current and former officials, scholars and experts from 10 countries have offered valuable insights on a range of important issues.  We are particularly gratified to have Ambassador Kelly Craft, former U.S. Permanent Representative to the U.N. deliver an opening keynote speech this morning, in which Ambassador Craft expressed staunch support and friendship for Taiwan, and reminded us of the fact that Taiwan, as a force for good, will never be alone on the way of pursuing freedom and democracy.


If we sum up the key word being mentioned most frequently throughout 4 panel discussions today, whether we were talking about Taiwan Strait contingency, Indo-Pacific stability, gray zone coercion or reconstructing global supply chain, China is no doubt the main theme of our shared concern.


In recent years, political, economic, military, and technological dynamics in the Indo-Pacific have evolved rapidly. In addition to these sea changes, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact since its emergence last year. However, in every crisis, there is opportunity. While China is expanding hegemony and spreading tentacles throughout the world during the pandemic, China has also exposed its true malicious global ambitions.  Thus, over the past few months, like-minded countries have reached a consensus on security issues arising from China and then come closer together to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific and to safeguard our belief of democracy and freedom.


The resurgence of the Quad is a striking example. Following the first Quad Summit took place on March 12, the second Summit is schedule to be held this autumn. At this interval, the Quad working groups on vaccine, critical technologies and climate change also have some progress. At the same time, the G7 Summit, NATO Summit, and US-EU Summit, etc also demonstrated a united desire for a world anchored by democratic values and unconstrained by coercion. We can see a trans-Pacific alliance of like-minded democracies gradually taking shape and a renewed Transatlantic partnership. In today's discussions related to the Quad, it may take time for the Quad to become fully institutionalized and it may be an early stage to discuss enlargement. However, for now Quad is still an ideal platform for the four like-minded nations to develop cooperation on all aspects pertinent to security and the well-being of the people in the democratic community. Also, it leaves open the possibility for making specific Quad+ activities depending on the interest and availability of other partners. I do hope Taiwan will participate in some form in the near future.


On many occasions in the international arena, the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait has been underscored recently. It shows Taiwan Strait developments is not just a cross-strait issue but a global concern as well. Any development in the Taiwan Strait is indeed a challenge not only to the Indo-Pacific liberal order but also the rest of the world.


Why Taiwan matters? Taiwan is of critical strategic importance to the region and the world. Taiwan is a defender of shared values, a sharp contrast with authoritarian China. Taiwan is situated in the middle of the first island chain in the West Pacific, a crucial geographical position to contain China's military power and its spread of authoritarianism. Taiwan is a key partner in the global ICT industry, especially in the supply chain of semiconductor. Due to its strategic position in many aspects, Taiwan faces tremendous challenges and threats from China. For example, PRC warplanes and vessels have continuously encircled Taiwan. More than 150 days as of today this year Chinese warplanes could be spotted on Taiwan's ADIZ. In addition, Chinese government-backed disinformation flooded Taiwan. We receive nearly 30 million attacks a month and about half of which are suspected to come from China.


However, facing military and non-military attacks, Taiwan has never succumbed to pressure from China but has become the frontline of all democracies against China's heightened rhetorical assault, military intimidation and all sorts of gray zone tactics. Taiwan is able and willing to share our experiences of how to defend democracy for more than half a century. Taiwan is a reliable partner ready to contribute as a force for good. Taiwan not only safeguards its democratic way of life with great determination, but also commits to working with like-minded partners to promote democracy, security, and prosperity across the region. To echo discussions today, Taiwan strongly calls for China to refrain from provocative and destabilizing gray zone activities in East Asian waters but to resolve conflicts by peaceful means through multilateral negotiation. In addition, I also agree that supply chains should be a source of strength instead of weakness in the global economy and it is vital to build trusted global supply chain. Also, politically and commercially, it is logical to consider Taiwan to be the top partner in this economic reconstruction. 


Taiwan's continued promotion of multilateral dialogue is part of how we are working to find a peaceful resolution to the security issues of our day. The Ketagalan Forum is one example of our commitment to being an active, reliable partner in the Indo-Pacific. At this challenging time, Taiwan stands in solidarity with its partners, and we hope our friends will also stand by us. Together, we can realize a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific. Democracy will and must prevail in the end.


In closing, thank you for having joined us. We look forward to seeing you again next year.