Mr. Chen Jen-Ran, Ambassador-at-Large for Digital Opportunity (數位機會陳無任所大使正然);
Deputy Minister Chiou Jiunn-Rong of the National Development Council (國家發展委員會邱副主委俊榮);
Acting Director Mr. Robert Forden of AIT/T (AIT/T代理處長傅德恩);
President Yu Hsiao-Pin of the Institute for Information Industry (財團法人資訊工業策進會于執行長孝斌);
Ladies and gentlemen:
It is a great pleasure to attend the opening ceremony of this year’s fourth GCTF event, the Workshop on Enhancing Broadband Penetration and Bridging the Digital Divide in the Asia Pacific. On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan), I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all of the participants.
Firstly, I want to thank the Institute for Information Industry for organizing this event, and the American Institute in Taiwan for rounding up such a strong field of professional participants from Asia-Pacific countries.
Today’s workshop is the 10th event to take place under the Taiwan-US Global Cooperation and Training Framework since 2015. Over the last two and a half years, Taiwan and the United States have joined forces to provide training courses on such issues as public health, energy efficiency, women’s empowerment, and bridging the digital divide for trainees from countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region. These programs have given Taiwan an opportunity to contribute its expertise to wellbeing in the region, and to work with a host of experts in addressing global challenges.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are living in an era of technological innovation. The advances of our age have greatly enhanced human prosperity, and for many people around the world, broadband internet access has become an indispensable necessity. We text, email, and entertain one another; we shop and surf social media—all via digital networks, all on a daily basis.
And yet despite the apparent ubiquity of the Internet, UN statistics indicate that more than 52 percent of the people on this planet have no access to it. Further still, there are massive disparities in connection speed and quality across countries and regions. Facilitating widespread broadband access remains our highest priority if we are to ensure that more and more global citizens can reap the benefits of the digital economy.
The Taiwanese government has had a lot of success over the years in terms of increasing the penetration of nationwide broadband access, and we have been keen to share our experience with neighboring countries. In 2003, for example, Taiwan helped set up APEC Digital Opportunity Centers in 10 APEC countries. Millions of people in those countries have benefited as a result of those projects. Today, we are very pleased to see this important work being continued under the GCTF, making its contribution even more profound and wider-reaching.
And with that, please allow me to wish this workshop great success. I hope you’ll be able to observe Taiwan’s digital capacity and strength for yourselves during your stay here, and make the most of our experience. Thank you!