The official inauguration of Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, was held on May 20. Aside from the fact that she is Taiwan’s first female president, Tsai has many political and economic problems that she needs to tackle — including finding a way to have “positive dialogue” with China.
Here are 10 main points from her inaugural speech:
1. I would like to tell you that, regarding the results of the January 16th elections, I have always had one interpretation only. The people elected a new president and new government with one single expectation: solving problems.
2. It is not the leader who makes a country great; it is the collective striving of the people that makes this country great. A president should not only unite her own supporters; she should unite the entire country. To stand united for change — that is my earnest hope for this country. Here, I sincerely call on everyone to give this country a chance.
3. Most importantly, and I must stress: our young people still suffer from low wages. Their lives are stuck, and they feel helpless and confused about the future… This is what I want to do for the young people of Taiwan. Although I cannot give every young person a raise instantly, I can promise that the new administration will initiate actions immediately. Please give us some time, and please join us on this journey of reform.
4. The area that the new government must address is to strengthen Taiwan’s social safety net. Over the past few years, several incidents of violent crime affecting the safety of children and youth have shaken our entire society. However, a government cannot remain in a state of shock. It must demonstrate empathy. No one can endure the pain and suffering on behalf of the victims’ families. However, the government, and especially the first responders, must let the victims and their family members feel that, when unfortunate incidents occur, the government is on their side.
5. The issue of pension reform is crucial for the survival and development of Taiwan. We should not hesitate, nor should we act in haste. Vice President Chen Chien-jen is spearheading the establishment of a Pension Reform Committee.
6. The new government will actively promote judicial reform. At this juncture, this is the issue the people of Taiwan care the most about. The general sentiment is that the judicial system is not close to the people, and is not trusted by them. It is unable to fight crime effectively, and has lost its function as the last line of defense for justice.
To demonstrate the new government’s resolve, we will hold a national congress on judicial issues this coming October. By allowing public participation and letting in social forces, we will advance judicial reform together. The judicial system must respond to the needs of the people. It will no longer be a judicial system for legal professionals only, but for everyone. Judicial reform is not only the business of legal professionals; it must be inclusive. These are my expectations for judicial reform.
7. The new administration will seriously address issues related to climate change, land conservation and disaster prevention. After all, we only have one earth, and we only have one Taiwan.
8. I was elected President in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of China, thus it is my responsibility to safeguard the sovereignty and territory of the Republic of China; regarding problems arising in the East China Sea and South China Sea, we propose setting aside disputes so as to enable joint development.
9. In the past, democracy was about the winning or losing of an election, and now, it is about the happiness of the people.
10. In the earlier performance, I was really touched by a verse in the lyrics of a song:”Today is the day, my brave fellow Taiwanese.”
Dear fellow citizens, dear 23 million people of Taiwan: the wait is over. Today is the day. Today, tomorrow, and on every day to come, we shall all vow to be a Taiwanese who safeguards democracy, freedom, and this country.
Watch her full speech in the featured video by Trending Taiwan 潮台灣: