Opening Remarks by AIT Director William Brent Christensen
at the Global Cooperation and Training Framework
International Workshop on Combating Transnational Crime and Forensic Science
August 14, 2018
AIT Official Text #: OT-1821
(As Prepared for Delivery)
Premier Lai, Minister Tsai, Deputy Minister Hsu, Acting Director General Lin, and distinguished guests, good morning. On behalf of the American Institute in Taiwan, it is my distinct pleasure to welcome everyone to the Global Cooperation and Training Framework International Workshop on Combating Transnational Crime and Forensic Science.
As you know, I’ve just returned to Taiwan and I am delighted to be back again. I can’t think of a better, more important way to spend the coming years than to continue to strengthen the partnership and friendship between the United States and Taiwan. The Global Cooperation and Training Framework – known as the GCTF – is a prime example of how multifaceted our cooperation truly is, tackling topics as diverse as increasing energy efficiency, fostering inclusive economic development, providing information access to millions through expanded broadband, and modernizing how we confront natural disasters and pandemic disease. These are challenges too big to face alone. I believe that the United States and Taiwan not only have much to share with one another, but also have much to share with other countries in the region and across the globe.
When I left Taiwan in 2015 as Deputy Director of AIT, the GCTF was still at a fledgling stage. As I return to Taiwan three years later, I am proud to see how far our partnership has come. Including today’s program, the United States and Taiwan have hosted 12 GCTF workshops. Today’s opening ceremony also marks the first-ever GCTF program focused on law enforcement.
I’d like to recognize each of the participants – from three different continents – who made the effort to travel to Taiwan this week. For those of you visiting Taiwan for the first time, you will find that Taiwan is home to some of the friendliest people in the world. If you get lost, someone is always willing to lend a helping hand. The friendliness and trust you experience would not be possible without the peace and security provided by Taiwan’s strong rule of law. People in Taiwan respect the law and trust the authorities to protect them. This confidence in law enforcement has not only strengthened the security and stability of Taiwan, but that of the region. For example, we have witnessed Taiwan law enforcement’s determined extraterritorial pursuit of telescammers that has led to the arrests and prosecutions of Taiwan passport holders in phone scam call centers across the region. Simply put, Taiwan’s rule of law should serve as a model for the international community. The United States certainly believes so. That’s why we have included Taiwan in our Global Entry and Visa Waiver programs. That’s why our Drug Enforcement Administration and Secret Service officials are here to share best practices to make law enforcement networks stronger. And that’s why we are proud to co-host this first-ever GCTF program on law enforcement.
We are all here today because we have shared values, but we also have shared concerns. Nobody can deny the threat posed by illegal narcotics, counterfeit currency, and passport fraud. We can all agree that reductions in crime, the promotion of public safety, and more integrated law enforcement networks benefit all our peoples. Like many of you, I also stepped off a plane not too long ago. Taiwan’s airports are one of the first lines of defense against the trafficking of drugs, money, and even people. I experienced firsthand the professionalism, expertise, and diligence of Taiwan’s immigration, customs, and security officials. Participants in this workshop all share a similar dedication to enforcing the law, both international and domestic. Over the next three days, I hope the diverse range of experts in this room – from investigations and police to narcotics control and drug enforcement to customs and immigration – can share ideas to address the law enforcement problems we all face. And I hope that the people in this room will form lasting connections so you can keep in contact in the coming years to share best practices with one another.
The GCTF is a partnership to demonstrate and share Taiwan’s strength and expertise with the rest of the world. And one of the key marks of strong leadership is to bring people from diverse backgrounds together to unite and face common challenges. That is what we try to do in the United States, and we have been very impressed with Taiwan’s commitment to doing this as well. Taiwan’s democratic development and its contributions to the world are deserving of the international community’s dignity and respect. As we kick off this GCTF program, featuring 26 participants from 16 countries, I am positive that you will all come to see Taiwan as a hub of law enforcement expertise, a reliable partner, and a force for good in the world.