Tsai talks about challenges

GRAND HOTEL::At a gathering to mark the DPP’s 31st birthday, the president told diplomats that Taiwan would not be where it is today without international assistance

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Sep 29, 2017 - Page 3

Taiwan faces greater challenges in foreign relations, while the New Southbound Policy and other policies will help it to develop warmer ties with nations around the world, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday told a large audience of diplomats and international business representatives at a celebration to mark the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) 31st anniversary.

The gathering at the Grand Hotel in Taipei included ambassadors, diplomatic officials and international business association representatives from 43 countries.

“Taiwan would not be where it is today without support from the international community. The nations you represent have walked with Taiwan along our journey toward democracy. Together, we have witnessed Taiwan’s transition from a net recipient to a contributor around the world,” Tsai said.

Her administration has enacted pension reform, something previous governments were unable to achieve, as well as increasing social housing and long-term care service coverage, passing the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program and plans to reform the military, the judiciary and the tax system, she said.

The nation’s economy has improved, with export orders seeing 12 consecutive months of growth, and GDP growth has exceeded expectations, she said, adding that last month’s unemployment rate was the lowest in 26 months.

The New Southbound Policy is a major foreign policy focus, and the administration has worked for Taiwan to play a greater role in the region, particularly in areas of trade, investment, education, tourism and culture, she said.

Taiwan is seeing the dividends of such efforts, as tourism from Southeast Asian countries and India has risen by 36.7 percent over last year, while trade has risen by 19.39 percent and the number of students from these countries is up by 10 percent, she said.

“All of this has brought Taiwan and New Southbound countries closer together,” she added.

“In the coming years, Taiwan’s international participation will continue to face many challenges. Taiwan deserves your support so that as a partner, we can contribute to a safer, healthier and more prosperous global community,” Tsai said.

Thanking the 15 countries that voiced their support for Taiwan at the UN General Assembly this month, she said Taiwan is determined to work with all its diplomatic allies to more effectively support their development.

“We have already made our intentions clear. Taiwan is ready to work with each of your countries to create a more democratic, secure and prosperous international society. I hope that you will also be willing to work with Taiwan for a better shared future,” she said.