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Remarks by AIT Director Stephen M. Young at 2008 International Conference on Homeland Security and Technology National Taiwan University Hospital Convention Center December 10, 2008

OT0819E | Date: 2008-12-10

Premier Liu, Chief Representative Saito, Mr. Huang, Dr. Guo, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.  It is an honor for me to be here this morning to help inaugurate the 2008 International Conference on Homeland Security and Technology.

It is also a great pleasure to welcome Paul Rosenzweig, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.   Paul brings enormous insights into Critical Infrastructure Protection given his role in overseeing policy development and strategic planning at the Department of Homeland Security.  I am also pleased to welcome him as a fellow alumnus of the University of Chicago.


As major trading economies in an increasingly interdependent world, the U.S. and Taiwan share a common interest in protecting our home territories while ensuring free and secure trade.

Our experiences with natural and man-made disasters in recent years illustrate the importance of the topic of this year's conference.  Developing the tools, policies, and cooperative mechanisms needed to protect the critical infrastructure of our societies is vital to our overall security, public health and safety, economic vitality and way of life. I know Deputy Assistant Secretary Rosenzweig and Dr. Guo Lin-wu of the Executive Yuan's Office of Homeland Security will discuss our respective efforts in this regard.  I don't want to steal your thunder, but let me congratulate you both for the work you have done so far.

In the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security has developed and implemented National Infrastructure Protection Program (NIPP), which Paul will speak more about in a minute.  This ambitious document lays out our strategy to protect the nation's critical infrastructure against terrorist attack and to provide for timely responses to natural disasters.

I know Dr. Guo's office has coordinated a similar effort for Taiwan.  Planning for the worst can be a thankless job, but it is essential and I commend you for your contributions. The threats we face know no boundaries and our response must reflect this.  The attacks of September 11, 2001 woke many of us to terrorism's transnational nature and last month's attacks in Mumbai are a stark reminder to all open societies that terrorists seek to exploit our vulnerabilities.

U.S.-Taiwan Homeland Security Cooperation

As two of the world leading economies, the U.S. and Taiwan have a particular interest in ensuring the continued security of the global trading system.  The challenge is to maintain the openness and vibrancy of our economic and commercial ties while ensuring that this openness cannot be used against us.  I am pleased to say that our cooperation in this area has never been better.  Let me cite a few examples.

Since 2005, U.S. and Taiwan officials have worked together to implement the Container Security Initiative (CSI) in the ports of Kaohsiung and Keelung.  This program ensures the safety of goods flowing from and through the U.S. and Taiwan, and expedites the flow of Taiwan's own shipments to the U.S.  CSI targets terrorist activity, but is also detecting other forms of illicit activity.  For example, U.S. and Taiwan Customs officers have stopped shipments of contraband including precursor drugs, counterfeit currency, and products that violate intellectual property rights.

Similarly, in 2003, the U.S. established the Megaports Initiative to prevent terrorists from smuggling nuclear or other radioactive materials through commercial shipping channels and since 2006 the U.S. and Taiwan have worked together to implement this program here.  This high-tech scanning has minimal impact on port operations but facilitates trade by increasing the security of seaports.  This cooperation is a potent symbol of our commitment to international maritime security.

We also work closely with Taiwan on export controls.  A by-product of Taiwan's amazing economic success is that it now produces many products and technologies of potential interest to terrorists.  Under the US Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program, the U.S. and Taiwan work together to enhance Taiwan's export controls, especially in the area of enforcement, technology transfers, and transshipment.  Clear and focused nonproliferation goals, comprehensive legal authority and meaningful penalties for violators all help ensure the success of our efforts.  The U.S. is committed to continue to work with Taiwan to develop the strongest possible framework for successful implementation of Taiwan's export controls.

Expanding Exchanges

Of course, the ultimate goal of our security efforts is to create an environment that fosters the exchanges and interactions that are the strength of our free market economies and the foundation of the close ties between the United States and Taiwan.

The record shows that we are succeeding.  Even as our commitment to homeland security has increased, the U.S. and Taiwan bilateral economic and commercial relationship has continued to expand.  Likewise, the two-way flow of students, businesspeople, tourists and others continues to grow, as have their contributions to the overall vitality of the U.S - Taiwan relationship.

In that regard, we are pleased with Taiwan's recent announcement that it will issue electronic passports. The ability to control your borders is a critical element of national security, and the more secure a nation's travel documents, the more able it is to protect itself from international terrorist and criminal activity.  We hope Taiwan's efforts to introduce this new electronic passport are matched by a corresponding strengthening of application procedures so passports are not inadvertently issued to people who are not Taiwan citizens.

I also want to congratulate Taiwan, and the city of Kaohsiung specifically, as you prepare to host the World Games next year.  Paul Rosenzweig will visit Kaohsiung later this week, in part to discuss our experiences in hosting this kind of major international sporting event.


We share common values of democracy and free trade that allow our societies to flourish.  It is this very success that makes us attractive targets to terrorists.  Meeting this threat must not entail compromising our fundamental values.  Instead, we must continue to protect the openness that makes us so successful with a steadfast commitment to security.

We have already developed many common solutions to the challenge of fostering security while ensuring openness.  Our commitment to implementing these common solutions will help the U.S. and Taiwan ensure that we remain open to the free flow of products, people, and ideas. Today's conference is another step in that process and I commend you all for your commitment and dedication.  Thank you and I wish this conference the greatest success.


Director's Speeches