President Tsai Ing-wen and her delegation touched down at Miami International Airport (Florida, USA) at 12:30 p.m. local time on June 24 (12:30 a.m. on June 25 Taipei time), and ROC Representative to the US Stanley Kao (高碩泰) and American Institute in Taiwan Acting Chairman Joseph R. Donovan boarded the aircraft to welcome her. The president and her delegation then proceeded to their hotel. At 7:00 p.m. President Tsai attended a dinner banquet with members of the expatriate community, who gave her a rousing welcome.
In remarks, President Tsai first expressed sympathy and condolences on behalf of the government and people of Taiwan regarding the recent Orlando nightclub shooting attack. She then said that given the values that Taiwan and the United States share—openness, tolerance, and inclusiveness, "any attack on these shared values is an attack on us all." She went on to say that US President Barack Obama has branded the Orlando incident an "act of hate" and an "act of terror," and that as a democracy, Taiwan firmly believes that neither hate nor terror can triumph over freedom, and that Taiwan and the entire international community are unanimous in condemning this act of irrational violence.
President Tsai noted that the US is Taiwan's most important partner, frequently collaborating on strategic and trade matters, and that the most important foundations of Taiwan-US exchanges are our shared values and friendship.
President Tsai then pointed out that Florida and Taiwan have many things in common, including a fairly hot climate. But what many people don't know is that Taiwan's most well-known agricultural product over the past few years, the Aiwen mango, was actually introduced from Florida. Taiwan-Florida trade is also thriving, she said, and statistics show that in 2015 Taiwan was Florida's sixth-largest export market in Asia. Mutual recognition of driver's licenses has also made domestic travel and an active lifestyle more convenient for travelers and foreign exchange students in both locations.
The president also noted that PortMiami is the world's largest home port for cruise ships, while Taiwan's largest harbor is Kaohsiung. Both ports are sun-drenched locations and first-class harbors, and have already signed a sister seaport agreement to continue deepening exchanges and cooperation. This close cooperation is a symbol of Taiwan-US friendship, she said, and is also the product of efforts by Taiwan's Miami-based diplomatic personnel and expatriate community, for which they should be commended.
The president then stated that her current trip is all about "steadfast" which means "to be unwavering and firm in purpose, and work diligently and pragmatically toward achieving our goals." Taiwan is an important participant in the international community, she said, and although our diplomatic efforts face challenges at every turn, the people of Taiwan still give it their all. Each and every ROC expatriate working abroad is an ideal diplomatic spokesperson for the people of Taiwan. Their contributions and achievements, in all fields of endeavor, let the whole world see the Taiwan spirit.
As examples of that spirit, the president cited Taiwan baseball star Wei-Yin Chen (陳偉殷). Every time Chen starts for the Miami Marlins, it becomes a must-watch performance for fans in Taiwan and around the world. And every time he takes the mound, everyone knows that the Marlins' ace pitcher is from Taiwan. In addition, the achievements of Dr. Jaue Huey Hsu (許照惠) in biotech, the importance of Ms. Tsai Hui Wu (徐彩惠) in the US electric fan manufacturing industry, and Mr. Joe Wang's (王成章) stature in the business community all help the world learn about Taiwan. These outstanding Taiwanese expatriates have not only achieved a great deal professionally, but have also actively contributed to the public good and overseas community affairs. Their individual efforts are widely admired, and have made them the pride of Taiwan.
The president also mentioned that the US lawmakers attending that evening's banquet are all staunch friends of Taiwan who, over the years, have spoken out on Taiwan's behalf and supported legislation that enhances Taiwan-US relations. The government and people of Taiwan will not forget this, she added. President Tsai also expressed her sincere gratitude to Taiwan expatriates for their long-term efforts to foster Taiwan-US friendship, which has helped to stabilize this bilateral relationship.
President Tsai also said that, at this very first stop on her diplomatic mission, she already felt warmly embraced by the expatriate community, and that she would carry that support back to Taiwan as momentum for greater efforts. She also asked everyone to back her, and to continue to support the governing team. The government, she remarked, will continue to work hard so that Taiwan can surmount its present difficulties, and make everyone proud of their homeland, and proud to be Taiwanese.
Expatriate banquet attendees also included US Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart and Gregg Harper, who co-chair the Taiwan Caucus in the House of Representatives; Congressman Ted Yoho; National Federation of Democratic Women's President Joanne Sullivan; American Institute in Taiwan Acting Chairman Joseph R. Donovan; Taiwan's National Security Council Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Minister of Foreign Affairs David T. Lee (李大維), Taiwan's Representative to the US Stanley Kao, Overseas Community Affairs Council Minister Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興), and parliamentarians Liu Shyh-fang (劉世芳), Lee Hung-Chun (李鴻鈞), Chen Ying (陳瑩), Chiu Yi-Ying (邱議瑩), Hsu Chih-Chieh (許智傑), and Lin Chun-Hsien (林俊憲).