President Tsai sets out government achievements and objectives at year-end press conference



On 29 December, President Tsai Ing-wen delivered her remarks at the 2017 year-end press conference at the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science & Technology, where she spoke on the government’s reform policies, achievements in addressing self-sufficiency in national defence, international economics and trade, steadfast diplomacy and economic reform. The President also pledged that the government would overcome its existing challenges and achieve its set objectives.

President Tsai began focusing on national defence, citing the unpredictable geopolitical environment surrounding Taiwan, including Chinese expansionism, tensions in the Korean peninsula and territorial disputes in the East and South China seas. She added that strategic considerations between the US and China, the lack of overall progress in regional economic and trade integration and the continued possibility of geopolitical conflicts, mean that Taiwan cannot afford any miscalculations. The President also stressed that if Taiwan wants to defend its sovereignty and maintain regional peace, stability and prosperity, it cannot depend on others, adding that upgrading Taiwan’s military capabilities is the strongest way to guarantee its national security.

On international economics and trade, President Tsai said Taiwan has strengthened trade, investment, cultural exchanges and cooperation with all countries included in the New Southbound Policy. Citing promising statistics, including a 20% annual growth in Taiwan’s bilateral trade with the 18 New Southbound countries as well as a 30% increase in tourism, the President said Taiwan will continue to find new opportunities as the New Southbound Policy moves into a more comprehensive promotion and integration stage.

Stressing the importance of cross-strait relations to regional peace and security, President Tsai also affirmed Taiwan’s commitment to maintaining the cross-strait status quo. She stated that Taiwan will fulfil its responsibilities of maintaining regional security by continuing to harbour goodwill and maintaining stable, consistent and predictable cross-strait relations.

Speaking on the government’s commitment to implementing next-generation infrastructure projects and the transformation of Taiwan’s domestic industrial structure, President Tsai said that the ‘Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program’ is well underway and the ‘5+2 industrial innovation program’ is showing excellent progress. She added that green energy companies from around the world are now focusing on Taiwan, which will bring electric power and many more high-quality job opportunities. Furthermore, the President said the government would work to improve the lives of Taiwan’s younger generations by ending low wages for young people and promoting social housing, public childcare, pre-school education and long-term care.

President Tsai finished stating that while 2017 may have seemed tumultuous, Taiwan has moved steadily forward. Emphasising that change cannot wait and the government’s efforts are a race against time, she said the government’s goal for the coming year is to overcome its difficulties and take Taiwan to new heights.