Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute Delegation Concludes Productive and Insightful Visit to Taiwan
At the invitation of the Taiwanese government, 10 distinguished American leaders promoted shared values and strengthened ties with Taiwan amidst increasing tension with the People’s Republic of China
Simi Valley, CA – A delegation of 10 national security and business leaders returned last week from a successful trip to Taiwan to discuss mutual priorities amid growing tensions within the region. The visit, which was facilitated by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), was led by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute (RRPFI) and served as an opportunity to engage on key policy issues, strengthen the friendship between Taiwan and the United States, and promote shared values of freedom, democracy and economic opportunity.
“The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute was honored to lead this delegation to Taiwan, a vibrant democracy and an absolutely key economic partner in Asia, a region vital to America’s future,” said David Trulio, President and CEO of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. “The Taiwanese people share President Reagan’s enduring principles of individual liberty, economic opportunity, freedom and democracy. In this time of enormous Chinese military and economic coercion, it is especially important to build relationships with Taiwan’s top leaders and raise awareness here in the United States about the challenges and opportunities we must face together.”
Roger Zakheim, Director of the Ronald Reagan Institute, spoke of President Reagan’s enduring legacy: “The Reagan Institute preserves and promotes President Reagan’s values of peace through strength, as well as freedom and democracy. During this visit, we were proud to advance these values and see first-hand Taiwan’s strength and unwavering commitment to freedom and democracy in the face of aggression from the People’s Republic of China.”
Several key takeaways (below) were identified by the delegation, which was composed of leaders with deep experience across government, public policy and business, and was in Taiwan from October 23-27. Delegation participants included:
- David Trulio, President and CEO of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute
- Roger Zakheim, Director of the Ronald Reagan Institute
- Michael Allen, Managing Director, Beacon Global Strategies, and former Staff Director, U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- Melissa Giller, Chief Marketing Officer, Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute
- Rachel Hoff, Policy Director, Ronald Reagan Institute
- Mark Isakowitz, Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google, and former Chief of Staff, U.S. Senator Rob Portman
- Heino Klinck, Co-Chairman, Board of Advisors, National Bureau of Asian Research, and former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia
- Kent Lucken, Managing Director, Citigroup, and former Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State
- James Talent, Chairman, Reagan Institute National Leadership Council, and former U.S. Senator
- Mac Thornberry, Former Chairman, U.S. House Armed Service Committee
Delegation member and former Senator James Talent (R-MO) spoke of the challenges Taiwan faces today: “All the partisan leaders we talked to are for a strong defense of Taiwan – everybody wants to protect Taiwanese democracy. The Taiwanese are working to become more self-sufficient in their own defense, and they would like to play a greater role in Asian affairs. That’s the big and most urgent challenge.”
Delegation members participated in a series of meetings designed to strengthen ties between the United States and Taiwan, including the following engagements with the Taiwanese government, multiple political parties, non-governmental organizations, as well as business leaders:
- President Tsai Ing-wen
- Wu Jaushieh Joseph, Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Tang Audrey, Minister of Digital Affairs
- Wang Mei-hua, Minister of Economic Affairs
- Koo Wellington, National Security Council Secretary General
- Po Horng-huei, Deputy Minister of National Defense
- Leadership from the following political parties:
- Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)
- Kuomintang (KMT)
- Taiwan People’s Party (TPP)
- The American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan
President Tsai's office posted her remarks from her meeting with the Reagan Foundation, with related video, here.
While the delegation’s participants represented diverse views and backgrounds, RRPFI’s takeaways included:
- Democracy is alive and well in Taiwan, with a vigorous, multi-party campaign for the upcoming 2024 presidential election. All parties are committed to maintaining Taiwan’s vibrant democracy and robust freedoms, including ensuring free and fair elections.
- Taiwan’s development and sustaining of a world-class technology sector, particularly in semiconductors, is impressive. U.S. leaders should navigate the conversation about developing America’s own domestic semiconductor manufacturing industry in a way that is framed as win-win for both the U.S. and Taiwan.
- Negotiating a fair bilateral trade agreement should be a top bipartisan priority. A wide range of Americans stand to benefit, from farmers to medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers, to intellectual property holders. In turn, Taiwan would reduce its economic dependence on China. With the precedent of such an agreement, other countries in Asia would be more likely to overcome their apprehensions and negotiate their own trade agreements with Taiwan; this would further enhance overall economic resilience.
- The security situation across the Taiwan Strait has fundamentally changed in the last year. The increased aggression and harassment from the People’s Republic of China exists across all domains: military, gray zone, economic, cyber, and disinformation. U.S. inability to deliver promised military capabilities to Taiwan only weakens deterrence, and underscores the need to address serious shortfalls in the U.S. defense industrial base.
- There is some concern regarding America's resolve, commitment, and ability to deliver for our allies and friends around the world, particularly in light of our own domestic political debate about supporting Ukraine. Support for Ukraine in Taiwan is strong, with a recognition of the message a Russian victory would send to Beijing.
- There are promising signs of an increased will among the Taiwanese people to defend themselves, including raising defense spending and extending the term of required military service.
In April 2023, the Reagan Foundation hosted President Tsai Ing-wen and then-U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and accompanying government officials and bi-partisan legislators at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. President Tsai previously visited the Reagan Library in 2018.
Long before he became President, then-Governor Reagan visited Taiwan in 1971 as a special representative for President Nixon, and again as a private citizen in 1978. Following his latter visit he said, “Everywhere we went in Taiwan we saw the evidence of a vigorous and successful society.”
In 1982, the Reagan Administration established what became known as the “Six Assurances,” key foreign policy principles that to this day guide relations between the United States and Taiwan.
To learn more about the Ronald Reagan Foundation and Institute and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, please visit: www.reaganfoundation.org.
About the Reagan Foundation and Institute
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute is the sole nonprofit organization created by President Reagan charged with continuing his legacy and sharing his principles - individual liberty, economic opportunity, freedom and democracy, peace through strength and national pride. The Foundation is a non-partisan organization which sustains the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, CA, the Reagan Center for Public Affairs, the Presidential Learning Center, The Air Force One Pavilion, the award-winning Leadership Academy and the Reagan Institute, which carries out the Foundation’s mission in Washington, D.C.
The Reagan Library houses over 55 million pages of Gubernatorial, Presidential and personal papers and over 60,000 gifts and artifacts chronicling the lives of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. It also serves as the final resting place of America’s 40th President and former First Lady Nancy Reagan.
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