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Remarks by AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk at Independence Day Reception

July 7, 2023

Remarks by AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk
at Independence Day Reception

July 6, 2023

(As Prepared)

President Tsai, Vice President Lai, Mayor Hou, Chairman Ko, ministers, distinguished guests, friends, Wǎn’ān (晚安)! It’s an honor to welcome you to AIT’s celebration of the 247th American Independence Day. This is my second year hosting this event and it’s wonderful to see all of you assembled here together tonight. Your presence is a testament to the close partnership the United States shares with Taiwan. I’d also like to welcome some special guests joining us from the United States a delegation of six Members of Congress, led by Representative Hern of Oklahoma.  Welcome to Taiwan!  We hope our event makes you feel at home and that you spot your home states on the video display.

I would like to especially thank President Tsai for attending as our guest of honor this year. Madame President, it has been a pleasure to work with you directly on strengthening and expanding U.S.-Taiwan relations over the last two years.   Your commitment to ensuring the peace and prosperity of the people of Taiwan is constant, and the United States appreciates your steady leadership in the face of an increasingly complex geopolitical climate. I am confident that at the culmination of your tenure as President next year, it will be clear that you left Taiwan in a better position than when you assumed office. Thank you for your efforts to enhance Taiwan’s economic and social contributions around the world.
We have much to celebrate this year as the partnership between the United States and Taiwan is closer than ever. Bilateral trade between the United States and Taiwan increased nearly 20 percent in 2022, and just this past month, we jointly signed the first agreement of the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative for 21st Century Trade.  We’ve deepened people-to-people ties, with greater cross-border education and cultural programs following the global pandemic.  These efforts contribute to making Taiwan a more attractive destination for both investment and visitors than ever before.  U.S. support for Taiwan is longstanding, unwavering, and bipartisan.  Our common values of democracy, human rights, and freedom form the foundation of our excellent relationship.  AIT remains committed to working with Taiwan to advance our shared vision of a free, open, resilient, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.  We thank Taiwan for serving as a partner to the United States and for promoting democratic values around the world.

Beyond these shared foundational values the deeper I look the more I see similarities between our societies sometimes in the most unexpected places. Taiwan’s night market scene is a unique cultural treasure, but it served as an inspiration for the state fair theme displayed here this evening. Regardless of which part of the United States you visit, a state fair is a quintessential experience our country, and like a night market, it’s a great place to play carnival games, take in the lively atmosphere of the crowd, and sample delicious, interesting, and frequently deep-fried foods. However, I have yet to see stinky tofu at an American state fair! We invite you to try the State Fair-inspired food and try out the photo booths on either side of the stage throughout the evening.

I would like to thank you again for joining us to celebrate the Fourth of July.  Please enjoy the food, drinks, company, and the rest of the evening!  Gǎnxiè dàjiā(感謝大家)!