Taiwan, U.S. Japan mark GCTF anniversary with strengthened commitment

06/01/2020 06:42 PM
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Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (center), American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Taipei Office Director Brent Christensen (left), and Hiroyasu Izumi, chief representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (center), American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Taipei Office Director Brent Christensen (left), and Hiroyasu Izumi, chief representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association.

Taipei, June 1 (CNA) Taiwan, the United States and Japan issued a joint statement Monday, the fifth anniversary of the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), pledging to further strengthen their trilateral partnership and seek greater cooperation.

The framework serves as a platform for Taiwan to share its expertise with partners around the world.

Launched in June 2015, the GCTF was originally a Taiwan-U.S. platform for expanding collaboration on global and regional challenges. Japan joined the platform in 2019 and since then, several fourth-party partners stepped in to co-host GCTF workshops, including Sweden and Australia in 2019 and this year, the Netherlands.

To mark the 5th anniversary of the GCTF, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) hosted a news conference in Taipei Monday, attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Taipei Office Director Brent Christensen, and Hiroyasu Izumi, chief representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association.

Also present at the event were representatives or deputy representatives in Taiwan from Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, a retrospective video was shown to mark the GCTF's fifth anniversary, which included congratulatory messages from  U.S. Congressmen Ami Bera, Ted Yoho; and Keitarō Ohno, a member of Japan's House of Representatives.

Wu said the GCTF is a platform for Taiwan to highlight its strength and expertise, help countries in the region to build up their national capabilities, strengthen multilateral cooperation, enhance substantive relations with like-minded countries and further expand Taiwan's international space.

Over the past five years, 23 international workshops under the GCTF platform covering a diverse collection of topics such as public health, energy security, disaster relief, law enforcement, media literacy and women's empowerment have been held, with the participation of 500 officials and experts from 38 countries, according to Wu.

Wu said that during his tenure in office, he tripled the budget for the GCTF platform to enable Taiwan to forge more cooperation with more countries.

To make the platform's operation more systematic, MOFA decided to establish the GCTF task force under its Department of North American Affairs, Wu noted.

It will also establish the GCTF Alumni Network to build and expand networks and organize reunions for former GCTF participants, he added.

Just as President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has said, the Taiwan-U.S. partnership has already grown from a bilateral partnership to a global partnership, Wu said.

Wu added that the cooperation between Taiwan and Japan in both the public and private sectors is increasingly closer and he expressed hope that the GCTF will continue to strengthen cooperation and partnership among Taiwan, the U.S. and Japan.

Wu, Christensen and Izumi released a joint statement noting that the GCTF was established to provide a platform through which Taiwan could contribute to global problem-solving and could share its expertise with partners across the region.

Taiwan's frequent exclusion from international bodies has largely deprived the world of the country's humanitarian assistance, technical know-how, and rich experience as a democratic success story, the statement added.

Speaking on the same occasion, Christensen said the GCTF was born out of a very simple idea, which MOFA recently adapted into the slogan -- "Taiwan can help."

"In todays context, the value of Taiwan's assistance is almost too obvious to mention. But in 2015, Taiwan's generosity, expertise, and valuable experience were not nearly as well understood by the international community or around the world," Christensen said.

"I can also say that the GCTF has been one of the most durable and sustainable contributions to the U.S.-Taiwan partnership, and really to the world," Christensen added.

Unlike other international fora whose gatherings are often symbolic exercises constructed as platforms for speeches by high-level officials, GCTF workshops are practical, he continued.

Christensen particularly highlighted that Taiwan has managed the COVID-19 pandemic better than anywhere else in the world. Even as countries around the world clamor to better understand the Taiwanese model, Chinese pressure still prevailed in shutting Taiwan out of the World Health Assembly this year.

Touting the GCTF platform as free from political motives and designed solely to help professionals benefit from Taiwan's experience, expertise, and generosity, Christensen said he looks forward to continuing work with the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association as they recognize and amplify Taiwan as a reliable partner, a democratic role model and a force for good in the world.

Izumi said that Japan, Taiwan and the U.S. have shared values of freedom, democracy and human rights and that Japan is happy with its meaningful participation in the GCTF platform.

"Japan will not leave Taiwan and cannot leave Taiwan. Japan and Taiwan must go together," Izumi added.

(By Chen Yun-yu and Evelyn Kao)

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