On February 8, 2023, Taiwan conferred the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon onto US-Taiwan Business Council Chairman Emeritus Paul Wolfowitz. This prestigious civilian award was bestowed upon Dr. Wolfowitz by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in a ceremony at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei.
The award was presented to Dr. Wolfowitz during the annual Chairman’s Delegation trip to Taiwan, where representatives from USTBC member companies visit with Taiwan political and business leaders to discuss bilateral relations and U.S.-Taiwan economic ties. The delegation, led by Dr. Wolfowitz, will spend three days conducting meetings in Taipei.
The US-Taiwan Business Council congratulates Chairman Emeritus Wolfowitz on this honor, and thanks Taiwan for recognizing Dr. Wolfowitz’ distinguished career and longstanding support for the U.S.-Taiwan bilateral relationship.
In a news release about the decoration being conferred, the Office of the President said:
On the morning of February 8, President Tsai Ing-wen presented Paul D. Wolfowitz, Chairman Emeritus of the US-Taiwan Business Council (USTBC), with the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon, in recognition of his contributions to Taiwan-US economic and trade cooperation and his support for Taiwan’s democracy. In remarks, President Tsai thanked USTBC for its longstanding support for and confidence in Taiwan. The president also stated that peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is a cornerstone of prosperity for Taiwan, the United States, and the region. She added that she looks forward to the continued support of USTBC, as we work together to ensure a fair, prosperous, and resilient economic order in the Indo-Pacific region.
The awards ceremony is available to view on YouTube. A translated version of President Tsai’s comments, along with a transcript of Dr. Wolfowitz’ comments, are included below,, courtesy of the Office of the President.
Translated comments by President Tsai Ing-wen and Remarks by Dr. Wolfowitz
Following an interval of three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a USTBC delegation is visiting Taiwan once again. All of the guests here are important representatives from across the world of business, working in areas including high-tech, national defense, energy, finance, biomedicine, and consumer products. Your visit demonstrates the high regard that the USTBC has for Taiwan’s market. The members of your delegation will also conduct in-depth exchanges with relevant government agencies in pursuit of even broader cooperation.
I just conferred the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon upon Chairman Emeritus Wolfowitz to thank him on behalf of the people of Taiwan. Chairman Emeritus Wolfowitz is a good friend and staunch supporter of Taiwan. Over many years, he has made innumerable contributions to deepening Taiwan-US economic cooperation and supporting Taiwan’s democracy.
The international landscape has seen tremendous changes over the past few years. Thanks to the solidarity of our people, Taiwan has maintained momentum in economic growth and has made substantial efforts to uphold the security of global supply chains.
Recently, Taiwan and the US have made significant progress in bilateral trade and investment. Since 2018, our two-way trade has increased by 50 percent, making Taiwan the ninth-largest trading partner of the United States. I want to thank all of the business representatives here today for your longstanding support for and confidence in Taiwan. I also want to reiterate that peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is a cornerstone of prosperity for Taiwan, the United States, and the region.
In the face of authoritarian expansionism, Taiwan will continue to strengthen its self-defense capabilities. We will also enhance cooperation with the United States and other like-minded partners to build resilient supply chains underpinned by democratic values to safeguard our way of life.
We hope that USTBC will continue to support economic and trade cooperation between Taiwan and the United States. Just last month, our countries held a new round of meetings under the Taiwan-US Initiative on 21st-Century Trade, which was launched last year. Moving forward, customs clearance and verification procedures between Taiwan and the US will become easier. In addition to promoting the signing of an avoidance of double taxation agreement, we also seek to join the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) initiated by the US government. This would help businesses on both sides strengthen competitive advantages and build an even firmer foundation for the Taiwan-US economic and trade partnership.
In closing, I once again welcome you all, and look forward to the continued support of USTBC. Let us work together to ensure a fair, prosperous, and resilient economic and trade order in the Indo-Pacific region.
Chairman Emeritus Wolfowitz then delivered remarks. He mentioned that he had the privilege of working in government with seven different US presidents, and that each one of them was a remarkable leader in their own way. He added that his favorite among them was President Ronald Reagan because he loved to inject jokes into his speeches. Chairman Emeritus Wolfowitz expressed his pride at receiving the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon, saying that for many years he has worked closely with the people and government of Taiwan, despite sometimes being hindered by political circumstances.
Noting that US-Taiwan relations are conducted in an unofficial capacity, Chairman Emeritus Wolfowitz said that they have had important relationships which had to work in this way. He then brought up the example of the US-West Berlin relationship during the Cold War, saying that much like it, the US relationship with Taiwan is unofficial and based on people-to-people ties, which sometimes puts constraints on US diplomats and on the government of Taiwan. But, he added, throughout the Cold War the US managed to preserve freedom in Berlin, and preserving freedom in Taiwan is of equal historical importance.
Chairman Emeritus Wolfowitz commended President Tsai on her outstanding leadership, which has contributed greatly to the strengthening of our bilateral relationship. He then quoted a sign that Ronald Reagan kept on his desk that said “there’s no limit to what a person can accomplish as long as they don’t care who gets the credit,” and said that he would add to this that “international relationships, particularly when they have to operate under those constraints, are a team sport.” He also said that Taiwan is home to marvelous government officials and business leaders, and expressed his pride at having spent a number of years working with US business leaders through USTBC, before noting that today USTBC has brought many business representatives to meet with the president.
Chairman Emeritus Wolfowitz cited the results of a USTBC survey which concluded that US business confidence in Taiwan has been increasing during a period when in most parts of the world, it has been on the decline. He added that this is something to be very proud of, but that we should not become complacent about it, and mentioned that during their meeting the members of the delegation will discuss their views on how to further strengthen business confidence in Taiwan.
Noting that Taiwan’s strength and survival depend both on a prosperous economy and resilient people, Chairman Emeritus Wolfowitz said that USTBC is here to try to help maintain this prosperity and resilience. He then thanked President Tsai for the honor she conferred on him and said he takes it as a recognition of the work of many people. Lastly, he expressed confidence that Taiwan’s prosperity will continue long into the future.
Also in attendance at the ceremony was President of USTBC Rupert Hammond-Chambers.
Read more about such Honors Ceremonies on the website of the Office of the President.