Sat, May 20, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Inauguration Anniversary: INTERVIEW: Tsai emphasizes infrastructure development

Today marks the first anniversary of President Tsai Ing-wen taking office. In an exclusive interview with ‘Liberty Times’ (sister newspaper of the ‘Taipei Times’) staff reporter Tzou Jiing-wen on Sunday, Tsai reflected on initiating reforms in the first year of her administration and set objectives for the coming year: moving forward with construction and striving for effective policy implementation. This is the second part of the interview

In its speech and conduct, it should abide by its charter, not turn its back on the spirit of that charter, pushing Taiwan out for political reasons.

In the process for fighting for permission to attend this year’s WHA, it was clear who helped us, who isolated us, who was friendly toward us and who was unfriendly toward us.

I do not feel that China’s hard-line approach helps cross-strait relations in the slightest, but I would also like to point out that Taiwan’s inability to join the WHA in no way diminishes its importance to the world’s health and disease-prevention networks.

The nation’s contributions to world health are obvious and our efforts have received international support. We will continue in those efforts and will not give up on international opportunities due to Chinese boycotting.

Over the past year, we have striven to maintain a peaceful and stable cross-strait relationship without provocation or accident.

I have always felt that handling cross-strait relations requires consideration of each side’s position. We have to face changing circumstances together and collaborate to ease [tensions] and create a positive atmosphere.

From the case of [human rights advocate] Lee Ming-che (李明哲), to the obstruction of Taiwan’s participation in the WHA, China has been persisting with an old mindset and approach to handling [cross-strait relations].

This has resulted in a serious backlash in Taiwanese sentiment and lost opportunities for an easing of tensions and positive development.

However, I must reiterate: Handling of the cross-strait relationship must be done on a foundation of mutual trust and goodwill.

All that is needed is for China to agree to collaborate with us to face changing circumstances, solve problems in cross-strait relations and build a structured relationship based on cooperation, bringing eased tensions and a positive development to the relationship.

LT: What is your perception of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) as it prepares to hold its chairperson election [today]?

Tsai:I can understand a party wanting to get back on its feet after an electoral defeat, but that requires the party to have direction and a method of doing things. Most important is that they understand what the public wants.

My experience of being part of a party that was in opposition for eight years and regained power has taught me that what the public expects from an opposition party is willingness to nurture talent and work hard at the grassroots level.

They want an ideal and future-minded approach to the nation’s development.

What the public absolutely does not want is a party that opposes reform and obstructs constructive projects.

When the Democratic Progressive Party was in opposition, it applied itself to the responsibility of supervising, but we did not boycott proposed reforms like that for water regulation and increasing domestic demand. We would give our input and make suggestions during the legislative assemblies.

However, the KMT caucus, central party and KMT politicians at the county and municipal levels refuse to work with us, and I believe I am not the only one who does not even know what their position is.

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