On the second anniversary of her inauguration, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said that while the two years had been somewhat bumpy, it was natural, since her administration has been pushing through a series of reforms to lay the foundation for a better future.
In a live-streamed half-hour interview with the online platform Watchout, Tsai said she would ensure that the reforms her administration has launched would be put into practice and said that the public would soon begin to see concrete results.
“We spent most of my first two years doing preparation … the next two years of my presidency, we will speed up the pace of these proposed reforms,” Tsai said.
Her administration has been preparing the legal frameworks to deal with many of the fundamental problems the nation is facing.
Its reforms include providing affordable housing, especially for low-income young people; raising salaries; reducing work hours; and boosting the low birth rate.
Her cross-strait policy of maintaining the “status quo” has not changed, and the government would neither act abruptly nor be stuck in a deadlock, she said.
It would neither return to the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) authoritarian era, when the two sides of the Taiwan Strait refused to interact with one another, nor would it submit to pressure, she said.
There might have been some change in cross-strait relations, but this was all the more reason to be determined to overcome difficulties, she said.
Maintaining the peaceful and stable “status quo” across the Strait is everyone’s responsibility, she said.
Asked by a netizen how her administration would counter Chinese infiltration, Tsai said she would strengthen societal safety measures and pay extra attention to whether “Chinese factors” would affect societal stability.
Turning to other topics, the president said marriage equality is a human rights issue and an indicator of social progress.
After the Council of Grand Justices issued a constitutional interpretation affirming the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, the administration has reached a constitutional basis for marriage equality, so it has to amend the law to guarantee the freedom to marry according to the grand justices’ interpretation, she said.
Government agencies would definitely propose a plan for review by lawmakers, she added.
The government recently gave public servants a 3 percent raise and is encouraging private-sector companies to boost salaries, and even pressuring them by threatening to name and shame listed firms that pay low wages.
The government has said that Taiwan has shaken off the 16 years of wage stagnation that began in 2000 and it is starting to see an increase in overall earnings.
However, sentiment among average wage earners has been low, because of low wages, the rising cost of living and high housing prices.
The government has said it would put 200,000 social housing units on the market over an eight-year period at concessionary rates to address housing issues.
As of Feb. 1, its social housing initiative has put almost 10,000 units on the market, the Construction and Planning Agency has said.
Figures released on Saturday showed that fewer babies were born in Taiwan last year than in any year in the past four decades, with the exceptions of 2009 and 2010. The population growth last year was also the lowest in the nation’s history.
SURPRISE GUEST: Media reports identified the visitor as Admiral Michael Studeman, director of the J2, which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity. After initially saying on Sunday night that it had no comment about the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit of an “unidentified US official,” but declined to give more details because the trip “has not been made public.” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
DEFENSE: The construction of indigenous submarines will be a testament to the nation’s commitment to safeguard its sovereignty, President Tsai Ing-wen said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday presided over a ceremony to mark the start of construction of the nation’s first indigenous submarine at state-run shipbuilder CSBC Corp’s (台灣國際造船) shipyard in Kaohsiung. “This submarine is an important part of allowing our navy to develop asymmetric warfare and to intimidate and block enemy ships from surrounding Taiwan’s main island,” Tsai said. “With the construction of the submarine to its future commission, we will certainly let the world know our persistence in safeguarding our sovereignty.” Tsai has made boosting the nation’s indigenous defense capacity a central pillar of her defense policy. She recently relaunched the
TIMELINE QUESTIONS: Chen Shih-chung said: ‘If anyone could assure us that we could get the shots in the first quarter of next year, we could set off firecrackers’ Taiwan has secured nearly 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported five new imported infections among travelers from Indonesia and the Philippines. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that Taiwan on Monday signed a procurement contract with a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer and paid a deposit to secure 10 million doses. It was the first contract finalized with a manufacturer and negotiations are under way with three other vaccine makers, Chen said. With the more than 4.6 million doses that can be obtained through the COVAX platform —