PUBLIC: Project 2049 Institute members vowed to ensure that Taiwanese could decide their own future during a meeting streamed on Facebook
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporter
Taiwan’s future should be determined by its nearly 24 million citizens without outside influence, Project 2049 Institute chairman Richard Armitage yesterday told a meeting attended by President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文）, institute president John Gastright and other institute members.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu （吳釗燮） and National Security Council Secretary-General David Lee （李大維） also joined the meeting at the Presidential Office, part of which was broadcast on Tsai’s Facebook page.
Calling Armitage — who served as US deputy secretary of state during former US president George W. Bush’s first term in office — an old friend of Taiwan and hers, Tsai said she was glad to meet him again after his visit last year.
She also thanked him for introducing her during a videoconference she held with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Brookings Institution and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on April 9 as part of an event marking the 40th anniversary of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act.
The US remains Taiwan’s most important strategic and economic ally, and the two nations have worked closely on security and economic affairs over the past three years, with bilateral relations at their best ever, Tsai said.
The US government has announced three arms sales packages for Taiwan, and US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar last month spoke out for Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Assembly in Switzerland, she said.
Tsai said she is continuing to work with the US on the challenges to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Armitage told the president that he was happy to continue renewing his 20-year friendship with Taiwan and hear Tsai’s discussion of the aspirations of Taiwanese during a private talk they had held earlier in the day.
The delegation was not in Taiwan to ask for anything, except to say that “Taiwan has to determine her own future, and almost 24 million citizens of Taiwan have to have a free, open [and] democratic process” to make that decision, he said.
The institute’s members would dedicate themselves to ensuring that process happen without being affected by any outside forces, Armitage added.
The 11-year-old Arlington, Virginia-based institute is a non-profit research organization that focuses on promoting US values and security interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
Gastright also served as a deputy US assistant secretary of state, among other positions he held at the US Department of State before joining the private sector.
Additional reporting by staff writer
President Tsai Ing-wen, right, talks with Project 2049 Institute chairman Richard Armitage, left, during a meeting at the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday. Photo: CNA