President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) vowed yesterday to lead the country through the global economic recession, saying he was confident the joint efforts of the government and people would eventually succeed.
“I am here to guarantee you that the administration will do its best to create better economic conditions,” he said. “The bitter winter will pass and the spring will come. I promise I will not let you down.”
Ma made the remarks in his televised recorded Lunar New Year’s Eve address. He made the speech in Mandarin, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese) and Hakka.
Acknowledging the impact of the worldwide economic downturn, Ma said he realized many people had “complicated feelings” on this year’s New Year’s Eve.
He said Taiwan has experienced a lot over the past year, including the legislative and presidential elections, which were held without a hitch and the country’s democratization, which was hailed by the international community as a “beacon of democracy” for Asia and the world.
Cross-strait tension had also eased, he said, adding that direct cross-strait transportation links were launched, the country’s international profile had been raised to a higher level and the public again had confidence in the judiciary.
“However, Taiwan is also experiencing a ‘once-in-a-century’ financial storm and economic recession. Many people lost their jobs for the very first time,” he said.
The economic slowdown has indeed delivered a blow to the country, he said, but the public should not lose faith because “Taiwan is, after all, our home.”
As long as Taiwanese unite and work together, he said, he was confident the country would weather such economic adversity.
Ma spent the last day of the Year of the Rat yesterday visiting people from all walks of life to thank them for their efforts over the past year. They included firefighters, senior citizens, coast guards and police officers. He also visited various temples to pray for a prosperous Year of the Ox.
Ma began at 8:30am by visiting a tailor in Rueifang Township (瑞芳) in Taipei County before ringing the Lotus Bell at the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist temple in Jinshan Township at 10:40pm.
Ma visited three other temples yesterday and was scheduled to visit 10 more today to mark Lunar New Year’s Day. He will also visit former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) for the second time since he took office last May. Lee has been outspoken in his criticism of Ma’s China-friendly economic policy, cross-strait policy and Japan policy.
Ma will visit five more temples tomorrow and also distribute red envelopes at Ma Village (馬家庄) in Miaoli County’s Tongsiao Township (通宵).
Ma Village’s residents are mostly surnamed Ma, but none of the Hong Kong-born president’s ancestors or relatives have ever lived there.
No public engagements have been arranged for Ma and Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.
On Friday, Ma will visit the Lin Family Gardens in Banciao (板橋), Taipei County, and attend Yo-yo Ma’s (馬友友) Lunar New Year concert at the National Concert Hall in the evening, while Siew will travel to Hualien.
Ma will visit three more temples on Saturday and attend Lunar New Year’s events in Taichung City and Kaohsiung City. He will also visit senior presidential adviser Lin Yang-kang (林洋港) in Taichung City and attend the opening ceremony of Kaohsiung City’s Lantern Festival.
Tropical Storm Koinu is expected to come closest to Taiwan from Wednesday through Friday as it passes through the Bashi Channel, but it remained uncertain how it would affect the weather, the Central Weather Administration (CWA) said. As of 8am yesterday, Koinu was about 1,000km east-southeast of Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), Taiwan’s southernmost point, and was moving northwest at 12kph, the CWA said. Koinu is likely to strengthen into a typhoon today or tomorrow and turn west as it enters the Bashi Channel to the south of Taiwan proper, CWA forecaster Chao Hung (趙竑) said. The storm’s trajectory is still unclear, so more time is
Taichung prosecutors yesterday indicted three people on charges of fraud for allegedly passing off watches assembled in Taiwan as Swiss-made timepieces and earning NT$400 million (US$12.4 million) in illicit gains. The Taichung branch office of the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau said in a statement that the group, headed by Mei Hua Precision Industry Co (梅華精密) and Laora Trading Co (仁徠貿易) manager Yang Hung-pin (楊鴻斌), had purchased the rights to use the Swiss trademark Ogival years ago and from November 2006 to December 2020 sold 26,282 counterfeit watches in department stores and online platforms in Taiwan. The branch office said they received
PALAU LAUNCHES: The source said that Taiwanese military personnel traveled to Palau, where a US brigade watched their work amid plans for a defense network The military last month participated in live-fire launches of MM-104F Patriot (PAC-3) missiles under US observation in an undisclosed location in Palau, a step forward in a US-led plan to create a joint defense missile system in the first island chain, a source said on condition of anonymity. The PAC-3 is the mainstay surface-to-air missile of the US, NATO and democratic nations in East Asia, the source said, adding that it has never been live-tested within Taiwan’s borders, the source said. The proximity of Taiwan to China and China’s close surveillance of the nation’s borders and nearby sea zones is a significant
TRAJECTORY: Koinu’s outer rim is expected to reach Orchid Island early tomorrow and Taitung at about noon, where waves of at least 6m are forecast A sea warning for Typhoon Koinu was issued at 11:30pm last night, the Central Weather Administration (CWA) said, adding that a land warning could be issued today. High waves of about 2m were observed in Taitung yesterday, while waves of 6m or higher were forecast for today, said Huang Chia-mei (黃嘉美), head of the CWA’s Taitung Weather Station. At noon yesterday, Koinu was about 660km southeast of Taitung, she said, adding that it was moving more to the north and its center could possibly make landfall. The storm’s outer rim would likely reach Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) in the early hours tomorrow and