‘Build a fortress of unit for peace’: Tsai’s plea on National Day
TAIPEI -- In an address marking the 112th Double Tenth National Day of the Republic of China, Taiwan's President, Tsai Ing-wan, has reiterated her belief that "peace is the only option across the Taiwan Strait". "Maintaining the status quo, as the largest common denominator for all sides, is the critical key to ensuring peace," she said.
"Particularly, the international community has come to realise that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is an indispensable component of global security and prosperity. Neither side can unilaterally change the status quo. Differences across the strait must be resolved peacefully."
Tsai said that while persisting in efforts to ensure its sovereignty, democracy, and freedom, Taiwan must be grounded in respect for historical facts, and continue to construct peaceful and stable cross-strait relations.
"Today, many leaders of political parties and other distinguished guests are present," she said. "Competition between political parties is a daily reality of democratic politics, but our gathering together here presents a precious landscape of Taiwan's democracy.
"I sincerely hope that, after competitive elections we can set aside our passions and together seek greater agreement, to build a fortress of unity as we face external challenges. I believe this is our shared responsibility to the country, regardless of political party." (Tsai will complete her second term as President in 2024.)
"We are willing to take the Taiwan public consensus as a basis, conditioned with dignity and reciprocity, and with a process of democratic dialogue, to develop with the Beijing authorities a mutually-acceptable foundation for interaction, and a path to peaceful coexistence," she said.
"I deeply believe that international support for Taiwan will only grow stronger. As the world is watching with concern and working to preserve peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, we must grasp the moment of opportunity to manage risk and enable both sides to be contributors to peace.
"This is not only the shared responsibility of Taiwan's political parties; it is also an unavoidable historic responsibility and common mission across the strait.
"Thanks to our solidarity, we have brought the international spotlight to democratic Taiwan. With confidence, we will show the world that the Taiwanese people are dignified, independent, warm, and kind.
"The Taiwanese people are happy to be people of the world and will be a democratic and free people for generations to come."
Tsai said: "I would like to thank the people of Taiwan for giving me two opportunities to serve as President and to give my all alongside the Taiwanese people
My term will end on May 20 next year, but I have no doubt that our country, calm and confident, will continue moving forward. We not only want to give the world a better Taiwan, we want to make the world better because of democratic Taiwan."
Tsai said that, in terms of geostrategy, the development of global democracy and international supply chain systems, Taiwan was now the most reliable, effective, and safest partner to the world. "The strength of international support for us has reached an unprecedented height," she said.
"Because we can now face the world with confidence and resolve, we can also be calm and self-assured in facing China, creating conditions for peaceful coexistence and future developments across the Taiwan Strait.
"It is my duty as President to safeguard our national sovereignty and the democratic and free way of life of the 23 million people of Taiwan; seeking peaceful coexistence, with free, unrestricted, and unburdened interactions between people across the strait.
"Taiwan, and both sides across the strait, should be enabled to contribute to regional peace and stability."
Key force in restructuring supply chains
Tsai said that, thanks to the hard work of the Taiwanese people over her seven years in office, Taiwan's economy had become a key force in the restructuring of global supply chains. "The Republic of China has increased its national strength," she said.
"Our GDP has grown considerably (over seven years) from NT$17.5 trillion and is forecast to top NT$23 trillion this year. In recent years the whole world has felt the full impact of economic stagnation and the pain of inflation. During this time, Taiwan's economy has been able to outperform the global average as well as the Four Asian Tigers, while maintaining greater price stability.
"Taiwan's particularly strong technology and manufacturing sectors have made Taiwan an indispensable actor in the global restructuring of supply chains.
"Through these efforts, we have also reduced our over-reliance on a single market (China). Our exports to the United States have more than doubled. And this past June, we completed the signing of the first agreement under the Taiwan-US Initiative on 21st-Century Trade, a trade agreement that is both globally pioneering and conceptually innovative.
"After more than seven years of hard work, our exports to New Southbound Policy countries have reached a record high. We have also deepened connectivity with Europe -- the European Union is now Taiwan's largest source of foreign investment. We are using our economic strengths to show the world the irreplaceable importance of Taiwan.
"Since 2016, my administration has kept its promises and maintained the status quo. We have adhered to the Four Commitments. We do not provoke, we do not act rashly, and we will absolutely not bow to pressure. We have deepened our co-operation with democratic countries around the world as we work together to maintain regional peace and stability, acting as a force for good in the world.