Premier Chen Chien-jen on Wednesday received former U.K. Prime Minister and Member of Parliament Liz Truss. The premier said that as an open, modern and competitive economy, Taiwan has passed numerous legal and policy reform measures required by the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Taiwan therefore hopes that after Britain officially joins the CPTPP, it will support Taiwan's accession. The premier also took the opportunity to thank the U.K. for its public support for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly over the past two years.
Taiwan has the willingness and the ability to actively participate in international affairs and plays an important role in areas such as epidemic prevention, energy, environmental protection, human rights and culture, the premier said. Faced with China's increasing suppression in the international arena, Taiwan needs the help and strong support of like-minded partners such as the U.K, so that Taiwan can participate in international organizations and make positive contributions in the international arena.
Premier Chen pointed out that the bilateral relationship between Taiwan and the U.K. has grown rapidly in recent years, with great strides made in areas such as health care, intellectual property rights, aviation, education and culture, and double taxation avoidance. In terms of industrial collaboration, several regular dialogue mechanisms have also been established and the premier said he hopes that by building on the existing robust foundation, Taiwan and the U.K. can continue to strengthen exchanges in various fields and elevate the Taiwan-U.K. bilateral relationship to new heights.
In her remarks, former Prime Minister Truss observed that Taiwan is a free democracy situated close to the world's largest authoritarian regime, and said she would use her visit to understand what Taiwan needs to defend its freedom and democracy. Ms. Truss added that during her visit she will also explore how the U.K. and Taiwan can work together to promote freedom and democracy more broadly across the world, and challenge the rise of authoritarian regimes.
Ms. Truss stated that the CPTPP is an absolutely crucial part of a free and open Indo-Pacific and said she is very supportive of Taiwan's accession to the CPTPP, adding that she would be delighted to discuss in detail the accession process with Taiwan. The former prime minister also pledged to work with the U.K. government and other signatory nations to explore how Taiwan's accession could be progressed. Finally, she also expressed her support for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization so that Taiwan can share its expertise on COVID-19 and other areas of public health.