Taiwan willing to share digital technology experience: APEC envoy


TSMC founder Morris Chang. CNA photo Nov. 21, 2020

Taipei, Nov. 21 (CNA) Morris Chang (張忠謀), Taiwan’s envoy to the just concluded APEC summit, said Saturday he stressed Taiwan’s willingness to share its digital technology experience to build a better future in his brief remarks to the summit Friday night.

Chang, founder of contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), was appointed by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for the third time to represent her at the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ meeting, which was hosted by Malaysia on Friday evening (Taipei time).

The meeting was not open to the public, but Chang re-read his three-minute statement to the summit at Saturday’s press conference.

In it, he pointed out the important role of digital technology in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, citing Taiwan’s experience.

“The GPS information on the phone allows the medical authorities to trace the recent contacts of a COVID-19 patient and the exposed people are quickly quarantined,” Chang said.

“Digital technology has also helped to establish a mask-rationing plan,” he said.

The successful control of the pandemic has allowed Taiwan to likely sustain its positive economic growth for this year and people’s lives have “almost returned to normal,” Chang told other leaders attending, including American President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).

He indicated that digital technology will play an increasingly important part in work, leisure, and health care in the post-pandemic era.

“Artificial intelligence, a branch of digital technology, will not only increase the efficiency of our medical doctors, but in fact will improve the efficacy of health care,” he said.

“In the post-pandemic digital era, Chinese Taipei is willing to share our successful experiences, and look forward to cooperating with APEC member economies to bring forth a bright and healthy digital future,” he concluded.

The APEC forum is one of the few global collaboration platforms in which Taiwan is able to participate, under the name Chinese Taipei.

Taiwan’s presidents, however, are not able to attend APEC summits because of opposition from China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory and objects to any situation that suggests Taiwan is a separate sovereign state.

At the press conference, Chang said there was no interaction between leaders of the 21 APEC economies due to the strict control of the time each leader had to talk.

Chang confirmed, however, that he held a separate video call with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍), without revealing any details.

“I can’t tell you what we discussed. We have a consensus that I will only say as much about it as he does,” Chang said, stressing that it was a private conversation.

Chang was responding to questions about Lee’s Facebook post earlier in the day saying that he “had a chat” with Chang, whom he last had tea with at APEC 2018 but have not seen each other since then.

Regarding whether Taiwan should join other bilateral or multilateral economic mechanisms to enhance its competitiveness, Chang said Taiwan should be willing to do so if it will be beneficial to the country’s economy.

(By Wen Kuei-hsiang, Matt Yu and Emerson Lim)

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