Transforming the nation’s economic structure; improving the social safety net; social fairness and justice; regional peace and stability and cross-strait relations; and the diplomatic and global challenges Taiwan faces were the five main points President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) talked about in her inauguration speech yesterday.
Acceptance of the so-called “1992 consensus,” which Beijing had been trying to browbeat Tsai into acknowledging in the speech, was not mentioned.
After Tsai and Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) were sworn in at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei, Tsai delivered her inauguration speech, first lauding “the democratic institutions of this country, which have allowed us to accomplish Taiwan’s third transition of political power through a peaceful electoral process.”
Democracy and the people were the main themes throughout the speech that followed.
The future of the nation lies with the younger generation and “to change young people’s predicament is to change the country’s predicament,” she said.
“When its young people have no future, a country is certain to have no future,” she added.
Tsai said her government would work to build a better nation in five main areas:
To change its economic structure, Taiwan must “bravely chart a different course — and that is to build a New Model for Economic Development for Taiwan,” Tsai said.
The new model would aim to enhance the vitality and autonomy of the economy, reinforce Taiwan’s global and regional connections, and actively participate in multilateral and bilateral economic cooperation as well as free-trade negotiations including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, she said.
Tsai said her New Southbound Policy would “elevate the scope and diversity of our external economy, and to bid farewell to our past overreliance on a single market.”
The president cited several recent incidents of violent crime affecting the safety of children and youth that should be addressed by “mending holes in areas such as public safety, education, mental health and social work.”
Pension reform and long-term care services were two other topics she talked about in regards to the social safety net.
“Vice President Chen Chien-jen is spearheading the establishment of a Pension Reform Committee,” she said, adding that her administration will convene “a national congress on pension reform that brings together representatives from different social classes and occupations to engage in negotiations on the basis of societal unity. Within a year, we will offer a workable proposal for reform.”
Preparing Taiwan for the arrival of a rapidly aging society, the government is also to build “a high-quality, affordable and extensive long-term care system,” Tsai said.
“The new administration’s approach is for the government to lead and plan, while encouraging citizens to organize in communities; through the efforts of collective social assistance, our goal is to build an adequate and comprehensive system,” she added.
Tsai said her government would continue to work with the public “to align its policies with the values of diversity, equality, openness, transparency, and human rights, so as to deepen and develop Taiwan’s democratic institutions.”
A Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to be established in the Presidential Office to address issues from the past, and the “transitional justice” the commission is expected to help achieve would bring about “true social reconciliation,” the president said.