President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) pledged yesterday to work through the economic crisis and open up Taiwan’s market to more foreign investment, promising to address public concerns by presenting solid solutions to stagnant salaries and high unemployment.
In his National Day address titled “Forging Ahead Together with Composure in the Face of Adversity,” Ma sought to tackle economic issues and said his administration would focus its efforts on boosting the development of service industries, raising salaries and eliminating investment barriers to create more job opportunities.
“To bolster of national security and Taiwan’s interests, we will relax regulations on foreign investments to create a friendlier and more convenient investment environment. In the future, liberalization will become the norm and barriers the exception,” Ma said at a National Day ceremony in front of the Presidential Office.
Ma said relaxing regulations on foreign investment would create a better investment environment and more jobs, and he promised that the government would strike a balance between labor rights and foreign investment.
“Although Taiwan’s economy has grown over the past years, many people have seen their salary remain stagnant and are not happy about that. To resolve this difficult situation, our industries must move toward higher value-added development,” he said.
Amid growing concerns about a low average salary and high unemployment rate, the president said that to make a breakthrough, the nation must restructure its industries and become a major provider of precision instruments, while strengthening the development of service industries.
On cross-strait relations, Ma said the government would continue to push cross-strait development forward on the basis of the [so-called] “1992 consensus,” whereby each side acknowledges the existence of “one China,” but maintains its own interpretation of what that means.
As the two sides of the Taiwan Strait continue cross-strait negotiations following the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, the government plans to review and revise the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) and set up offices on each side of the Strait to serve the needs of businesspeople, students and the general public, he said.
In his address, the president also reiterated the nation’s sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) and renewed his call for all parties to resolve the dispute peacefully.
The official celebration of National Day was held in a relatively low-key fashion, with the organizers cutting down the scale of the performances in front of the Presidential Office, while the crowds were thin.
The ceremony began with a 15-minute show by more than 400 members of the Ministry of National Defense Honor Guard and the Joint Military Marching Band, winning rounds of applause for their demonstration of rifle-twirling skills and drumming.
The performance ended with the servicemen forming the figure 101 in honor of the nation’s anniversary.
Ma and Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) met with foreign guests inside the Presidential Office before attending the ceremony.
First lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青), who had drawn criticism when she wore the same dress to the two previous National Day ceremonies, accompanied Ma in a new dress with floral prints in black and white.