Chairman Ko with the CNAS Delegation to Exchange Views led by Amb. Paula Dobriansky
On the morning of the 28th, Ko Wen-je, the chairman of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), met with a delegation from the Washington-based think tank, Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Next Gen Leadership Program, led by Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky, the former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs. The meeting covered various topics, including national defense security, economy and trade, as well as the upcoming presidential election. TPP Legislator Cynthia Wu, Secretary-General Tom Chou, and TPP think tank Executive Director Oliver Hsu were also present at the meeting.
Ko Wen-je stated that the United States is Taiwan's most important strategic and economic partner. In terms of security, Taiwan must establish its defense capabilities and promote a robust nationwide defense consciousness. Additionally, he called for an increase in the military budget to 3% of Taiwan’s GDP.
Regarding economic and trade issues, Ko Wen-je pointed out the structural imbalance in Taiwan's industry due to tax exemptions for ICT exports, which has led the ICT industry to dominate in Taiwan. He also mentioned that the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China has resulted in an economic overreliance on China due to tariff preferences on exported goods. To address this issue, Ko Wen-je suggested that Taiwan should join multilateral economic organizations to reduce its economic reliance on China. TPP Legislator Cynthia Wu added that the government should encourage cooperation between private enterprises to overcome Taiwan's current economic dilemma.
In addition to national defense and economic trade issues, Ko Wen-je also reiterated the importance of strengthening cybersecurity across the nation and sectors. He stated that cyber tools will likely be used as an instrument of attack in the event of a Cross-Strait conflict. Ko stressed the need for the government to allocate more funding towards the development of cybersecurity measures.
When asked about his preference between the other two political parties in Taiwan, Ko Wen-je stated that he doesn't have a particular preference towards the Kuomintang (KMT) or the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Due to differences in core values, the purpose of founding TPP is to provide Taiwanese voters with an alternative choice. Regarding the presidential election, Ko Wen-je mentioned that TPP has obtained significant support from young voters, reflecting their weariness of political ideologies. From an objective standpoint, he believes that the issue of reunification or independence is irrelevant at the moment. Public opinion still leans towards maintaining the status quo and stability in the Taiwan Strait. However, Ko Wen-je acknowledges that the next President of Taiwan will face great challenges, and establishing internal consensus within Taiwan will be a primary concern.