President Tsai Ing-wen has announced today the appointment of Morris Chang as her envoy to the APEC 2020 Leaders Summit slated for November 20.

This is the third time Tsai named the founder and former CEO of TSMC to represent her in the summit. He was the envoy in 2018 and 2019, during her first term as the president.

It is usually the heads of the member states who attend the summit, but Tsai is not allowed to show up as the representative of Taiwan, which participates in APEC as Chinese Taipei, due to the organization’s One-China policy.

Tsai, at a press conference, said the mission for the Chang-led delegation is twofold: to vow that Taiwan is willing to contribute more in containing the spread of Covid-19 and consolidate Taiwan’s position in the global supply chain of semiconductors by bolstering ties with other countries.

Hosted by Malaysia, the summit, along with other side meetings in the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, will be held virtually due to the pandemic.

The main focus of the conference is the Post-2020 Vision, the key policy set to replace the "Bogor Goals,” a set of goals adopted at the 1994 APEC summit in Bogor, Indonesia, calling for free and open trade and investment by 2020.

The agenda will also include discussions of how each member state plans to deal with the challenges to the post-pandemic economy.

Chang said Taiwan can make meaningful contributions to APEC by sharing its experience in fighting the pandemic, especially how the country does so by taking advantage of digital technologies.

Tsai said she believes Chang, as the founder of TSMC, has a unique perspective on the technology sector and the future of the digital economy. As the pandemic is driving the restructuring of global supply chains, Chang can also share with other APEC member states how Taiwan is ready to contribute to the economic development of the region.

During APEC Papua New Guinea 2018, Chang met one-on-one with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who attended in place of President Donald Trump, and exchanged opinions on strengthening regional connections. Pence is the highest level U.S. official to meet a Taiwanese envoy at an APEC meeting.

APEC Mike pence 張忠謀

Twitter of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan)

Morris Chang met with Mike Pence at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Port Moresby, November 17, 2018.

President Tsai seems to have high confidence in Chang’s ability to help Taiwan strengthen economic relations with foreign governments. In September, he was invited to a banquet Tsai held for Keith Krach, a U.S. Undersecretary of State and the highest-ranking Department of State official to visit Taiwan since 1979. Chang and Krach had a brief conversation.

Under Tsai’s administration, Taiwan has been moving toward multilateralism, with the President reiterating the desire for Taiwan to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

This year, Taiwan has also contributed US$1.5 million to APEC, double the amount in 2019. More than half of the funding will be used to support APEC activities in the area of human security, including health security, emergency preparedness, as well as energy and trade security, according to a press release.

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)

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