Remarks at the Forum on Supply Chain Restructuring: Improving Resilience amongst Like-Minded Partners
Jaushieh Joseph Wu
Minister of Foreign Affairs
September 4, 2020
Senate President Vystrčil, Director Christensen, Head of Office Grzegorzewski (jae-go-JEV-ski), Representative Izumi, Chairman Huang, distinguished members of the Czech delegation, distinguished members of the diplomatic corps; friends from the press: Good afternoon!
I would like to thank AIT for initiating the idea for this timely event, and I thank the EETO, JTEA, MOEA and TAITRA for cohosting this forum to discuss the urgent and critical issue of supply chain restructuring. I am particularly moved to see the substantive delegation led by President Vystrčil, the highest-ranking Czech official to visit Taiwan since 1989. We are grateful to have you participate in this discussion in person as we explore ways to strengthen supply chains with like-minded partners.
Today’s forum could not come at a better time. The outbreak of COVID-19 has exposed the risk of overreliance on a single country or supplier for critical materials such as medical supplies or pharmaceuticals. Many countries have started to consider a key question: If medical supplies could be weaponized or politicized during the pandemic, what would happen if a country’s strategic industries and key infrastructure were in the hands of another during a time of crisis? Another country that does not honor the values of the rule of law, freedom, democracy, and transparency?
I believe this is the time for a different industrial landscape. In her new term, President Tsai places the development of six core strategic industries as her policy priority, knowing that we need to end dependence on others to get a head start on national developments. Going forward, we will work with like-minded partners to establish reciprocal industrial ties, ones that lead to joint prosperity instead of coercion, exploitation and expansionism.
Just last week, Brent and I announced a joint declaration on 5G security. I mentioned in my remarks that information security is national security. In fact, if you think of the serious shortages of critical medical supplies in the global fights against the pandemic, I am sure you would all agree that supply chain security is also national security. And when it comes to national security, I can assure you that you could not find a more dedicated and determined partner in the democratic world than Taiwan.
It is reassuring to see that more countries are now taking concrete actions to diversify their sources of supply or bring its supply chains closer to customers. I see tremendous potential for closer cooperation between Taiwan and like-minded democracies from Europe, Asia and North America. Taiwan is your most reliable partner. We have demonstrated again and again our solid commitment and resolution to follow global standards and play by international rules.
Discussions are already underway regarding supply chain cooperation in the semiconductor, medical and energy industries. And we are thrilled to see more partners joining the alliance. Earlier this week, Taiwan signed three MOUs with the Czech Republic. This will further create more opportunities and channel for cooperation for industries from our both countries.
Dear friends, I believe that what we are witnessing is more than the restructuring of supply chains, but also the restructuring and consolidation of values and principles alliances, and the time has come for us to ensure that the values of freedom and democracy prevail. And on that note, I would like to once again express my appreciation to Senate President Vystrčil. We all know that you have come under tremendous pressure for the decision to come to Taiwan. I am sure that with all these good and hard-working friends onboard, we will create sustainable and enduring economic prosperity. Thank you.