At 3:30 p.m. local time on June 30 (6:30 a.m. July 1 Taipei time), President Tsai Ing-wen and her delegation arrived in Los Angeles for a transit stop on her way back to Taiwan after completing a visit to Panama and Paraguay. ROC Representative to the United States Stanley Kao (高碩泰) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Raymond F. Burghardt boarded the aircraft to greet President Tsai, then the president and her delegation traveled to their hotel. At 7:00 p.m. they took part in a banquet with the local expatriate community, from whom they received an enthusiastic welcome.
In remarks, President Tsai commented on Taiwan-US relations, noting that among those present at the banquet were a large contingent of Taiwan's most loyal friends in the US Congress, including Chairman Xavier Becerra of the House Democratic Caucus, Chairman Ed Royce of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Congressman Brad Sherman, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congressman Scott Peters, Congressman Ted Lieu, and Congresswoman Norma Torres. All of these Congress members, she said, are staunch allies of Taiwan on Capitol Hill and have tirelessly supported Taiwan over many years. It was with their help that the US House passed a resolution this past May affirming the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances as cornerstones of US-Taiwan relations. These important pieces of legislation will continue to guarantee the security of Taiwan for years to come. The president conveyed her hope that in the future, these members will continue to speak up for Taiwan in the US Congress by supporting legislation that furthers the unique and multifaceted friendship between Taiwan and the US.
President Tsai then mentioned that Taiwan also enjoys close ties with the State of California. The California State Legislature passed a concurrent resolution in July 2015 celebrating Taiwanese American Heritage Week and recognizing the common ideals shared by the US and Taiwan. The resolution declared that the warm relations and bilateral exchanges between California and Taiwan should grow, and recognized the profound importance of Taiwanese Americans to California.
The president stated that many of those attending the banquet have exemplified the importance of Taiwan-US relations. Taiwanese Americans have contributed immensely to American society, while never losing pride in their roots, culture, and heritage. Through their efforts, she remarked, Taiwan and the US have come closer together.
President Tsai also thanked all the expatriates at the banquet for their care and support for Taiwan. At a reception in Taipei for expatriates on May 21, the day after her inauguration as president, she put two requests to those in attendance. First, she called on them to do their part for people-to-people diplomacy, thereby contributing to Taiwan's diplomatic work. During this trip, she said, the expatriate banquets in Miami, Panama, Paraguay, and now Los Angeles have all seen packed attendance, which she found very moving. And the second request she made at the reception in May was to ask Taiwanese expatriates throughout the world to prepare the next generation to take part in expatriate community affairs, and to continue working in support of Taiwan. Noting the presence of many second- and third-generation Taiwanese people at the banquet, the president exclaimed: "One generation of expatriates after another keeps emerging to work for Taiwan." She further added: "We in Taiwan know that you love Taiwan. We can feel it, and we thank you."
As president, she said, she has many responsibilities, and many important reforms that must be carried out. Over the past month and more, a lot of difficult reform work has begun. The president told everyone they could be sure that she will be unwavering and firm in purpose. In both domestic reforms and diplomatic work, stated the president, she will maintain a steadfast determination and a serious commitment in facing all the challenges that lie ahead. To do any less, she declared, would be to let down the hopes of the 23 million people of Taiwan.
Remarking on her takeaways from this overseas trip, President Tsai said that her delegation has been treated with wonderful hospitality by the national government at each stop along the way, be it Miami, Panama, Paraguay, or Los Angeles, and Taiwanese expatriates have traveled great distances to greet them, which has been truly gratifying. She also took the opportunity to thank all the delegation members, staff, and overseas diplomats for all their hard work.
The president pointed out that she met during the current trip for bilateral talks with leaders from seven diplomatic allies, and also communicated and exchanged views either in person or over the telephone with over 20 US Congress members and other political leaders. She had contact during the inauguration ceremony for the Panama Canal Expansion with leaders and emissaries from many diplomatic allies and other countries, and stood together on stage with many other leaders to greet the world and celebrate the expansion of the canal.
The president noted that Paraguay President Horacio Cartes accorded the delegation a very warm reception, and during talks expressed a high degree of affinity with Taiwan's new model for diplomatic work based on "mutual benefits and mutual assistance." President Cartes told her that the two countries ought to take advantage of the complementary nature of their resources to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation, and should work together toward the goals of reform and development, so that Taiwan and Paraguay can each become an extension of the other's strengths. President Cartes also said: "Your country is bigger than you imagine," which made a deep impression on her.
President Tsai said she thought about several things during her time in Panama and Paraguay. While at the Panama Canal, she kept thinking: "What sort of infrastructure can we leave behind that would continue to be an asset to future generations a century from now?" And in Paraguay, she and President Cartes talked about what sort of diplomatic thinking is needed in today's new age, in order to change the old unidirectional implementation of projects, initiate closer two-way cooperation, and get in step with the times. President Cartes also said that Taiwan has provided a great deal of aid to Paraguay in the past, but in today's new age he sees a need to strengthen diplomatic ties by engaging in cooperation projects that are beneficial to both sides. It was very encouraging to hear these ideas, she remarked.
President Tsai told her listeners that "steadfast diplomacy" stresses the importance of seeing and experiencing things first-hand, sharing, learning, cooperating, being sincere, and working together with good friends toward the achievement of common goals. This, she said, is the attitude we should take toward our future diplomatic work, and the direction in which we should seek to progress.
President Tsai also shared her thoughts on the current state of Taiwan-US relations. She specially thanked the US administration for facilitating the transit stops for her delegation in Miami and Los Angeles, based on the principles of safety, convenience, comfort, and respect. She said that she highly cherished the opportunities to visit friends in the US, and to speak with oversea Taiwanese communities.
Over the years, stated the president, we have seen the relationship between Taiwan and the US grow and mature. The bilateral relationship is Taiwan's most important friendship of the 21st century, she noted, adding that the Congressional Taiwan Caucus is the largest country caucus in the US House of Representatives, representing the broad, bilateral support Taiwan enjoys in the US Congress. Taiwan is also engaged in a wide range of cooperation projects with the US that strengthen our international space, diversify our economy, and create lasting contributions to the international community.
Among those present at the banquet were Chairman Simon Lin (林榮松) of the Taiwan Center Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, President Stephen K. Fong (方杰洲) of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association in Los Angeles, and AIT Chairman Raymond F. Burghardt. Taiwan, in the meantime, was represented by National Security Council Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Minister of Foreign Affairs David T. Lee (李大維), Representative to the US Stanley Kao, Minister Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興) of the Overseas Community Affairs Council, and Legislative Yuan members 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), and Huang Kuo-Chang (黃國昌).