Remarks by AIT Director Stephen M. Young at the 2007 Taiwan Homeland Security Industry Conference NTUH International Convention Center, Taipei November 13, 2007
OT0718E | Date: 2007-11-13
Mr. President, Chief Representative Ikeda, Mr. Hammond-Chambers, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. It is my honor to help inaugurate the 2007 Taiwan Homeland Security Industry Conference.
I'd also like to emphasize that Americans will continue to welcome the flow of Taiwan's students, businessmen, tourists and others to our country, where they have made significant contributions to the overall vitality of U.S - Taiwan relations.
As major global trading economies, the U.S. and Taiwan share a common interest in protecting our home territories while ensuring free and secure trade. Terrorism is a transnational threat from which no one is immune. The tragic terrorist attacks of September 11 serve as a reminder that the U.S. and Taiwan, like all open societies, must constantly be aware that terrorists seek to exploit our vulnerabilities.
Let me stress that ensuring security does not mean restricting the many exchanges inherent in our free market economies. In fact, a strong commitment to our shared security serves as a foundation for facilitating trade. Even as our shared commitment to homeland security has increased, the U.S. and Taiwan have enjoyed a growing bilateral economic relationship.
At the same time, in the relentless competition of international trade, adoption and implementation of effective security measures only serves to improve economic competitiveness. Ensuring the security of our citizens goes hand-in-hand with offering them the greatest possible range of opportunities to build a brighter economic future. From safeguarding the transportation links vital to Taiwan's exports to facilitating the security of athletes gathering for the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung, security lies at the heart of Taiwan's economic vitality.
The U.S. and Taiwan have long enjoyed a remarkable degree of security cooperation as together we work to ensure the safety of Taiwan's - and our own - harbors, airports, and the other infrastructure critical to trade. Please allow me to discuss only a few important examples.
CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION
In the past 3 to 4 years, Taiwan has taken many important measures toward securing its homeland. Mr. Kuo Lin-wu of the Executive Yuan's Office of Homeland Security, who is a speaker in Panel 1, and Dr. York Chen of the National Security Council, working with our experts at the State Department and Department of Defense, have done a remarkable job in planning for the protection of Taiwan's critical infrastructure. The activities taken by their offices will help Taiwan better handle any contingency.
We are grateful for the close cooperation we enjoy with Taiwan on export controls. As Taiwan joins the ranks of the world's most developed economies, it increasingly produces products and technologies of interest to terrorists. Under the US. Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program, the U.S. and Taiwan are partners in seeking to keep high-technology items from the hands of proliferators who threaten our national security and harm our people.
AIT's EXBS Advisor coordinates with Taiwan officials to further refine Taiwan's already-solid export control foundation. Advancing the export control systems development and nonproliferation goals of Taiwan remains a top U.S. priority. Taiwan already has a comprehensive range of export control legislation. Implementation of this legislation will remain a key factor in ensuring the success of your efforts. The U.S. will remain steadfast in helping Taiwan develop the strongest possible framework for successful implementation. Our important cooperation will continue to increase in coming years as together we work to prevent the spread of sensitive technology to those who would do us harm.
We appreciative Taiwan's strong commitment in helping to ensure a safer and more secure world trading system. Since 2004, the U.S. and Taiwan have been working together to strengthen security in Taiwan's major seaports as part of the fight against global terrorism.
Today, the U.S. and Taiwan have been cooperating in the ports of Kaohsiung and Keelung on the successful implementation of the Container Security Initiative (CSI). By becoming our partner in CSI, Taiwan is helping to improve the safety of goods flowing from and through the U.S. and Taiwan, as well as expediting the flow of Taiwan's own shipments to the U.S.
In addition to its counter-terrorism role, the CSI program is also detecting other forms of illicit activity. Working together, for example, U.S. and Taiwan Customs officers have successfully interdicted international shipments associated with the smuggling of conventional contraband, including precursor drugs, counterfeit currency, and violations of intellectual property rights.
Our continued partnership on container security will help deter terrorism and illegal activity while at the same time support Taiwan's role as an important player in the global trade system.
In 2003, the U.S. established the Megaports Initiative in response to concerns that terrorists could use global maritime shipping lanes to smuggle nuclear or other radioactive materials. Megaports uses special monitors at seaports to scan cargo as it moves through the global shipping network. Since 2006, the U.S. and Taiwan have working in close cooperation to bring Megaports to Taiwan. This project will increase Taiwan's own security against illicit materials that may be transported to or from Taiwan. At the same time, the Megaports Initiative enhances the security of people and regions further along the supply chain. Our Megaports cooperation will serve as a potent symbol of Taiwan and other participants' commitment to international maritime security.
The U.S. has long recognized that the Container Security and Megaports Initiatives form intrinsically-linked layers in a larger, multi-tiered defense against terrorism. We are appreciative of Taiwan's cooperation in the successful implementation of these two programs critical to the security and economic growth of both Taiwan and the U.S.
Even before September 11, the U.S. was forced to recognize that our open, democratic society makes us a terrorist target. As part of our efforts to protect lives while facilitating business, U.S. firms have developed many practical security applications that may be equally useful in Taiwan, another open, democratic society seeking to combine security with a vibrant free market economy.
We are all looking forward to hearing from Rupert Hammond-Chambers, President of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council. The Council has made great efforts to promote the flourishing U.S.-Taiwan economic ties we see today, and we are grateful for the occasion to learn more about which commercial applications may help us address our shared security needs.
The U.S. and Taiwan share common values of democracy and free trade that allow our societies to flourish. It is this very success that can make us such attractive targets to terrorists. Meeting this threat must not entail compromising our fundamental values. Instead, we must continue to protect the openness that makes us so successful with a steadfast commitment to security.
We have already developed many common solutions to meeting the challenge of fostering security while ensuring openness. Our commitment to implementing these common solutions is helping the U.S. and Taiwan ensure continued openness to the free flow of products, people, and ideas. I am confident in our capacity to meet future security challenges while maintaining the freedoms we cherish.
Thank you for your attention, and all of my best wishes for the success of the conference.