Vice President Lai, esteemedguests, friends watching on TV and online, my fellow citizens across thecountry, good morning.
A Taiwanese Community
I feel immensely grateful to stand here once again todayand take on the responsibility entrusted to me bythe Taiwanese people.
This inauguration ceremony is unique in the history ofthe Republic of China. What makes it special is not its size or the number ofpeople in attendance. It is special because we know how difficult it has beenfor us to get to this point.
I want to thank the people of Taiwan for making such adifficult feat possible.
I particularly want to thank a group of people who havenot received a lot of attention over the past four months in our fight againstCOVID-19. I want to thank every single person who waited in line outside of thepharmacy in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak. Thank you for yourpatience, and thank you for trusting the government. You have shown the worldTaiwan’s commitment to civic virtues, even in times of greatest distress.
I also want to thank everyone who was quarantined orisolated at home, putting up with inconvenience in your daily life to keepothers safe and healthy. Thank you for exemplifying humanity’s best qualitiesand helping us successfully bring the coronavirus outbreak under control.
This sense of pride in our country, this community’sshared destiny, and the memories of these past months will live on in all ofour hearts. This is what solidarity feels like.
Many ambassadors and representatives from other countriesare here today, and I trust that many countries around the world are watchingTaiwan as well.
I want to take this opportunity to tell you that thecountry you see is populated by kind and resilient people. No matter thedifficulties we face, we can always count on our democracy, our solidarity, andour sense of responsibility towards each other to help us overcome challenges,weather difficult times, and stand steadfast in the world.
Unprecedented challenges and unparalleled opportunities
From January to now, Taiwan has amazed the internationalcommunity twice. The first was our democratic elections, and the second was oursuccess in the fight against COVID-19.
In recent months, Taiwan’s name has appeared in headlinesaround the world, thanks to our successful containment of the coronavirusoutbreak.
“Taiwan” is also emblazoned on the boxes of supplies weare sending abroad. The Taiwanese people have the kindest hearts in the entire world,and we will always offer help to the international community whenever we areable.
I hope that in addition to sharing in a sense of prideand joy, my fellow citizens can take to heart the spirit of “helping ourselvesto help others;” “when we help ourselves, others will help us.”
This pandemic has not yet ended, and we must remainvigilant. Even when it ends, its impacts will linger on.
The coronavirus has profoundly affected our world. It haschanged the global political and economic order, accelerated and expanded thereorganization of global supply chains, restructured the global economy, andchanged the way we live and shop. It has even changed the way the internationalcommunity views Taiwan and developments in the surrounding region.
These changes present us with both challenges andopportunities. I want to ask that my fellow citizens be prepared, becausecountless challenges and difficulties remain ahead of us.
Over the next four years, only those who can end thepandemic within their borders, lay out a strategy for their country’s survivaland development, and take advantage of opportunities in the complex world oftomorrow, will be able to set themselves apart on the international stage.
It takes more than fervor to govern a country. Leadershipmeans calmly taking the right direction in a changing world. That is preciselywhat I have done over the past four years.
I said before that I will leave you with a bettercountry. So over the next four years, I will proactively develop ourindustries, foster a safe society, ensure national security, and deepen ourdemocracy. I am going to reinvent Taiwan and lead our country into the future.
1. Industrial and Economic Development
I know that theTaiwanese people are most concerned about our industrial and economicdevelopment. In 2016, we initiated a new economic development model to helpconnect Taiwan’s economy to the world. Over the past four years, despitemassive changes in the international economy, Taiwan has done more than justweather the storm. Our economic growth has once again topped the Four AsianTigers, and the stock market index now regularly breaks 10,000 points.
Thanksto our successful control of the pandemic, so far, Taiwan is able to maintainpositive economic growth. This is rare in the world. However, we need tocontinue to take early action on economic relief and revitalization, and do whateverit takes to maintain stable economic growth.
Overthe next four years, we will face more intense changes in the global economyand the accelerated reorganization of supply chains. We will continue toimplement our Forward-looking Infrastructure Development and trillion NT-dollarinvestment programs. We will do so in the spirit of “achieving growth throughstability, and seizing opportunity amid changes,” in order to secure Taiwan’seconomic development over the coming decades.
In terms of industrialdevelopment, we are going to take advantage of the opportunities before us in sixcore strategic industries founded on our 5+2 Innovative Industries Program, totransform Taiwan into a critical force in the global economy.
Six Core Strategic Industries
First, we will continue todevelop our information and digital industries. We will take advantage ofTaiwan’s strengths in the semiconductor and ICT industries to secure a centralrole in global supply chains, and make Taiwan a major base for the developmentof next generation technologies, including IoT and AI.
Second, we are going to develop acybersecurity industry that can integrate with 5G, digital transformation, andour national security. We will strive to create cybersecurity systems and anindustrial chain that can protect our country and earn the world’s trust.
Third, we are going to createbiotech and medical technology industries integrated with the rest of theworld. Throughout this pandemic, Taiwanese teams have proven that they arecapable of working with world-class technologies to produce reagents anddevelop new drugs and vaccines. We are going to give these industries ourutmost support, and transform Taiwan into a key force in the global battleagainst infectious diseases.
Fourth, we are going to developnational defense and strategic industries by integrating military and civiliancapabilities. In addition to domestically-produced naval vessel and aircraftprograms that are currently underway, we will push harder to promotetechnological integration between the military and the private sector, tostimulate private sector production capabilities, and advance into the aviationand space industries.
Fifth, we are going toaccelerate the development of green energy and renewable energy industries.Over the past four years, renewable energy has experienced explosive growth,and Taiwan has become a hotspot for international investment. Building on thisfoundation, I am confident that we will achieve our goal of deriving 20% of ouroverall energy from green sources by 2025. We are going to make Taiwan a centerfor green energy in Asia.
Sixth, we are going to establishstrategic stockpile industries that can ensure the steady provision of criticalsupplies. Facing changes to the global order, we need to keep key industrialchains in Taiwan and maintain a certain degree of self-sufficiency in theproduction of face masks, medical and daily supplies, energy, and food.
In the current internationalclimate, countries that end their dependence on others will have a head starton national development. I would like our friends across all industries to restassured that our government stands with you. Over the next few years, we haveseveral strategies to drive the growth of our industries.
First, we will use domesticdemand, particularly demand from the public sector and national security needs,as the basic engine for our industrial development.
A prime example of this is theway strategic demand for face masks and other medical supplies throughout thispandemic has spurred the development of related industries. We can adopt asimilar model for our national defense and renewable energy industries to helpaccelerate their development.
We will continue to organize“national teams,” like our face mask team, according to the size and conditionsof different industries. We will utilize our government’s guarantee of domesticdemand to establish a global strategic materials manufacturing industry underthe “Taiwanese brand” and help it expand into other markets.
We know that financial support iscrucial to industrial development. Looking to the future, we will adopt moreflexible financial policies, continue to reform financial systems, and use morediverse means to help industries obtain the financing they need.
We will also work to create asafe environment for our industries. Our government is committed to maintainingsound public health and national security systems, a stable society, strongrule of law, and a healthy market. We need to offer these guarantees so thathigh-tech and strategic industries will be willing to choose Taiwan as theirproduction and R&D base.
We will also continue to guidethe global expansion of our industries. We will keep working to sign trade orinvestment protection agreements with the United States, Japan, and Europeancountries.
As we continue to promoteour New Southbound Policy, we will also develop other potential markets andencourage firms to establish operations there, giving our industries an edgewhen they engage in international cooperation. Overseas Taiwanese businesscommunities around the world will be our best partners as we seek newinternational opportunities.
Finally, we have the issue oftalent. In order for Taiwan to become a key global economic force, we need adiverse talent pool. My government will bring in the world’s top technical,R&D, and management talents to help globalize Taiwan’s workforce, widen ourindustries’ horizons, and give them the ability to compete in the internationalarena.
Looking to the future, Taiwanmust further connect with the international community. We will work tocultivate more outstanding bilingual and digital talents, giving our industriesa global competitive edge.
Over the next four years,Taiwan’s economy will enter a new stage, complete with more flexible capitaland talent flows, more robust industrial capabilities, and closer ties with theworld. Together, we are going to enter a new era of shared prosperity.
2. Safe Society: Health and Social Safety Nets to CatchThose Who Need Help
As we develop our industries, we will also keep in mindthat the people expect the government to foster a safe society. To be a bettercountry, the government must take on more responsibilities to reduce the burdenon the people and mitigate issues in society.
Over the past few years, we have addressed Long-term Care2.0, childcare, and residential justice issues. Over the next four years, mygoal is to weave an even tighter net that can catch every single person whoneeds help and prevent future tragedies.
●Healthand Disease Prevention Safety Net
First, we will strengthen ourhealth and disease prevention safety net. Taiwan is an ageing society, andinfectious diseases pose a serious challenge to the health of our people. Thatis why we need to bolster our disease prevention and treatment capabilities andlink industries to make more breakthroughs in vaccine and new drug development,as well as infectious disease prevention and treatment, so that people canenjoy healthy lives and receive better care.
●MendingGaps in the Social Safety Net
Our second step will be to mendthe gaps in our social safety net. Over the past few years, a great deal ofdiscussion has arisen around public safety incidents involving schizophreniapatients. The same goes for other mental illnesses, drug addiction, anddomestic violence.
I understand your concerns. These issues are not just theresponsibility of individuals or families, they are the responsibility of thegovernment. When families are unable to provide proper care, the government hasa duty to step in and help.
I am going to upgrade our social care system, enhance thecapabilities of frontline social workers, and improve their work environments,so that they can work at the grassroots and identify people who have fallenthrough the gaps in our safety net.
We cannot hold medical agenciesor individual judges solely responsible for controversies surrounding specificcases. Our judicial and executive branches should reevaluate and optimize thesesystems and take initiatives to make any necessary legal amendments.
3. National Security: National Defense Reforms, ActiveInternational Participation, Peaceful and Stable Cross-strait Relations
A better country requires a greater emphasis on nationalsecurity. Over the past four years, we have pushed for national defensereforms, active international participation, and peaceful, stable cross-straitrelations. We hope that Taiwan can play a more active role in the peace,stability, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region. Over the next four years,the direction of our policies will remain the same, and we will do even more.
●National Defense Reforms
We have three important directions for our nationaldefense reforms. First is accelerating the development of our asymmetricalcapabilities. While we work to bolster our defense capabilities, future combatcapacity development will also emphasize mobility, countermeasures, and non-traditionalasymmetrical capabilities. We will also work to strengthen our defenses againstthe threats of cyber warfare, cognitive warfare, and “unrestricted” warfare toachieve our strategic goal of multidomain deterrence.
The second is substantive reforms to our military reserveand mobilization systems. We need to enhance the quality of our reserve forces,as well as their weapons, equipment, and training, in order to achieveeffective jointness with our regular forces. We also need to establish a standing,interdepartmental system connecting our reserve and mobilization systems. Thissystem will help coordinate personnel and supplies, so that we can successfullymobilize during a transition from peacetime to war.
Third is improvements to our military’s management institutions.Today’s young servicemembers have all grown up in a democratic society, and oneof our most important missions will be to find ways for them to better utilizetheir professional skills in line with military needs.
Some young servicemembers have difficulties adjusting tomilitary needs, reflecting the gap between today’s society and our militarymanagement institutions. We need to work to close that gap. We need to reducenegative societal views of the military and end the gradual erosion of ourmilitary’s prestige and morale due to individual incidents caused by imperfect institutions.
Thus, we will improve appeal and counseling mechanismswithin the military, establish a fair and equitable incident investigationmechanism, and regularly evaluate personnel placements. In terms of educationand training, we will strengthen leadership capacities across all levels ofleadership and foster a modern management system that emphasizes professionalism.
We need to strike a balance between the team-orientedmilitary discipline needed for actual combat and society’s respect for theindividual.
Over the past four years, we have actively taken part inaddressing major global issues, including counter-terrorism cooperation,humanitarian assistance, religious freedom, and nontraditional security.
Throughout this global pandemic, we have been praised forproviding selfless assistance to the international community wherever we areable.
Taiwan has been deemed ademocratic success story, a reliable partner, and a force for good in the worldby the international community. All Taiwanese people should take pride in this.
Over the next four years, we will continue to fight forour participation in international organizations, strengthen mutuallybeneficial cooperation with our allies, and bolster ties with the UnitedStates, Japan, Europe, and other like-minded countries.
We will also participate more actively in regionalcooperation mechanisms and work hand-in-hand with countries in the region tomake concrete contributions to peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacificregion.
●Peaceful and Stable Cross-straitRelations
In the face of complex and changing cross-straitcircumstances, we have made the greatest effort to maintain peace and stabilityin the Taiwan Strait over the past four years, gaining approval from theinternational community. We will continue these efforts, and we are willing toengage in dialogue with China and make more concrete contributions to regionalsecurity.
Here, I want to reiterate the words “peace, parity,democracy, and dialogue.” We will not accept the Beijing authorities’ use of“one country, two systems” to downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-straitstatus quo. We stand fast by this principle.
We will continue to handle cross-strait affairs accordingto the Constitution of the Republic of China and the Act Governing Relationsbetween the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area. This has been ourconsistent position for maintaining the peaceful and stable status quo in theTaiwan Strait.
Cross-strait relations have reached a historical turningpoint. Both sides have a duty to find a way to coexist over the long term andprevent the intensification of antagonism and differences. Faced with changingcircumstances, I will hold firm to my principles, adopt an open attitude toresolve issues, and shoulder my responsibilities as President. I also hope thatthe leader on the other side of the Strait will take on the sameresponsibility, and work with us to jointly stabilize the long-term developmentof cross-strait relations.
Strengthening State Institutions and Democracy
While we work to achieve national development, it iscrucial that we optimize our government institutions over the next four years.Our Legislative Yuan will establish a constitutional amendment committee,giving us a platform to engage in dialogue and reach a consensus onconstitutional reforms pertaining to government systems and people’s rights.
This democratic process will enable the constitutionalsystem to progress with the times and align with the values of Taiwanesesociety. Our first priority should be to lower the voting age from 20 to 18, anissue on which both the majority and opposition parties are in agreement.
In terms of judicial reform, I delivered on my promise toconvene a National Congress on Judicial Reform, and we completed amendments tothe Judges Act, the Attorney Regulation Act, the Constitutional Court ProcedureAct, and the Labor Incident Act. This is all base work for the furtherimprovement of our judicial system.
However, our judicial reforms are still in transition,and our current progress has not yet met the public’s expectations. I willcontinue to solicit opinions from across society and keep pressing forward. Thepeople’s dissatisfaction drives us to continue on the path of reform.
Within the next four years, we need to implement a layjudge system, so that citizens can act as lay judges in court and becomecatalysts for judicial reform. This will help bridge the distance between thepeople and our judicial system, so that it aligns better with theirexpectations and earns their trust.
All constitutional institutions must also continue on thepath of reform. The Executive Yuan will reevaluate and reinitiate itsorganizational reform process, including the establishment of a specializeddigital development agency and adjustments to all ministries in line withcurrent needs. This will enable governance capabilities to be more responsiveto the needs of national development.
The National Human Rights Commission under the ControlYuan will officially be established in August of this year. This will be amilestone in our journey to place human rights at the center of Taiwan’snational ethos, and marks the start of a new chapter for the Control Yuan.
Our new Examination Yuan team will be instated inSeptember, and I will ask them to propose a comprehensive reform plan andevaluate past policies, so that they can become an effective human resourcedepartment that can cultivate the talent a modern government needs.
My fellow citizens, over the past 70 years, the Republicof China (Taiwan) has grown more resilient and unified through countlesschallenges. We have resisted the pressure of aggression and annexation. We havemade the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. Although we were onceisolated in the world, we have always persisted in the values of democracy andfreedom, no matter the challenges ahead of us. We will always remain committedto our common belief: Taiwan must help ourselves to help others, and when wehelp ourselves, others will help us.
Many of the heroes in our fight against COVID-19 are herewith us today, including members of our national face mask team, our CentralEpidemic Command Center’s public health team, and Premier Su Tseng-chang’steam.
There are many more heroes from all walks of life not inattendance today: medical workers, postal workers, pharmacists, conveniencestore clerks, taxi drivers, and many more.
I may not be able to call out all of your names, but Iwant everyone to know that Taiwan has overcome countless challenges over thepast 70 years, relying on not just one or two heroes, but thanks to countlessheroes such as yourselves, working together to turn the wheels of history. Youhave helped make Taiwan a happy, safe, and prosperous place for generations tocome.
I want to express my respect to all of you. Every singleperson in Taiwan is a hero. Vice President Lai and I are honored to take on theresponsibility you have entrusted to us.
Taking on the responsibility of the President of theRepublic of China in such difficult times brings me more pressure than joy. ButI will not back down, because all of you are with me.
The path forward will not be easy, and greater challengesawait us. But we are a country that has persevered through even the greatesthardships. We, the 23 million people, have always been and will always be acommunity with a shared destiny.
I truly hope that all of my fellow citizens will rememberhow it felt to come together to overcome the challenges of the past few months.The Republic of China can be united. Taiwan can be safe. Being Taiwanese can bean honor that makes you hold your head high.
My dear citizens, the path ahead of us is long, and weare about to begin a new chapter in Taiwan’s story. Taiwan’s story belongs to eachand every one of us, and it needs each and every one of us.
I ask that the 23 million people of Taiwan act as ourguides and partners. Let us pool our wisdom and courage and make this country abetter place together. Thank you.