Thu, Jun 20, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan can count on unwavering US support: AIT head

Staff writer, with CNA

American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen speaks at the “Deepening Economic Ties in the Indo-Pacific” forum at the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei on Tuesday.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

Taiwan can count on the US’ “unwavering commitment to our future together,” while China is cause for concern, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen said at a forum in Taipei on Tuesday.

“The United States has serious concerns about China’s market-distorting subsidies, threats, theft of intellectual property and lack of a market-oriented approach,” Christensen said at the Indo-Pacific economic forum.

In contrast, Taiwan’s close collaboration with the US proves it is a model for the kind of partnership the US is seeking in the region, he said.

The bilateral economic relationship “has never been stronger,” Christensen said, adding that Taiwan is the US’ 11th-largest trading partner, while the US is Taiwan’s second-largest.

A common misperception is that Taiwan’s economic outlook is bleak while China’s is rosy, he said.

“The truth is China is entering a very predictable slowdown,” Christensen said.

Taiwan’s economy, which is the world’s 14th-biggest by GDP per capita, is strong and robust, as exemplified by the fact that several major US technology firms have substantially increased their investments in Taiwan, he said.

Christensen said he is “very optimistic” about the future of US-Taiwan relations, based on their shared values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

“Taiwan will always have a home in the community of democracies, and it can count on the United States’ unwavering commitment to our future together,” he said at the forum, which was organized by the AIT and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA).

TAITRA chairman James Huang (黃志芳) told the forum that the government’s New Southbound Policy, which was launched 2016, is convergent with the US’ Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, as they both focus on ASEAN and South Asia.

The 14,000 Taiwanese companies operating in the region “have formed a very big family” and a strong business network, which stand ready to work with the US and other partners in the region, Huang said.

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