Last of two parts
[On the morning of May 20, ROC-Taiwan 14th-term President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President Chen Chien-jen attended inaugural celebrations at the plaza in front of the Presidential Office Building. President Tsai also delivered her inaugural address. Yesterday, the first half of the English translation of President Tsai’s speech appeared here. The following is the second half.]
3. Social fairness and justice
The third area the new government must address is social fairness and justice. On this issue, the new government will continue to work with civil society to align its policies with the values of diversity, equality, openness, transparency, and human rights, so as to deepen and evolve Taiwan’s democratic institutions.
For new democratic mechanisms to move forward, we must first find a way to face the past together. I will establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission inside the Presidential Office, to address the historical past in the most sincere and cautious manner. The goal of transitional justice is to pursue true social reconciliation, so that all Taiwanese can take to heart the mistakes of that era.
We will begin by investigating and sorting through the facts. Within the next three years, we plan to complete Taiwan’s own investigative report on transitional justice. Follow-up work on transitional justice will then be carried out in accordance with the truth unveiled by the report. We will discover the truth, heal wounds, and clarify responsibilities. From here on out, history will no longer divide Taiwan. Instead, it will propel Taiwan forward.
Also related to fairness and justice, I will uphold the same principles when addressing issues concerning Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. At today’s Inauguration Ceremony, before they sang the national anthem, the indigenous children first sang the traditional melodies of their tribes. This means that we dare not forget who arrived first on this island.
The new government will address issues concerning indigenous peoples with an apologetic attitude. My administration will work to rebuild an indigenous historical perspective, progressively promote indigenous autonomous governance, restore indigenous languages and cultures, and improve the livelihood of indigenous communities.
Next, 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.
4. Regional peace and stability and cross-Strait relations
The fourth area for the new government to address is regional peace, stability and development, as well as the proper management of cross-Strait relations. Over the past 30 years, Asia and the world have undergone dramatic changes. And governments have become increasingly concerned over global and regional economic stability and collective security.
Taiwan has always played an indispensable role in the region’s development. But in recent years, regional dynamics have been changing rapidly. If Taiwan does not effectively use its strengths and leverage to proactively participate in regional affairs, it will not only become insignificant, it may even become marginalized and lose the ability to determine its own future.
But where there is crisis, there is opportunity. The present stage of Taiwan’s economic development is highly connected and complementary with many countries in the region. If our efforts to build a New Model for Economic Development can be linked to other Asian and Asia-Pacific countries through cooperation, to jointly shape future development strategies, we will not just contribute to the region’s innovation. We will also contribute greatly to the region’s structural adjustment and sustainable development. Together with other members of this region, we will forge an intimate sense of “economic community.”
We will share resources, talents and markets with other countries to achieve economies of scale and to allow the efficient use of resources. This is the spirit on which our “New Southbound Policy” is based. We will broaden exchanges and cooperation with regional neighbors in areas such as technology, culture and commerce, and expand in particular our dynamic relationships with Asean and India. We are also willing to engage in candid exchanges and pursue possibilities for cooperation and collaboration with the other side of the Strait on our common participation in regional development.
As we actively develop our economy, the security situation in the Asia-Pacific region is becoming increasingly complex. Cross-Strait relations have become an integral part of building regional peace and collective security. In this process, Taiwan will be a “staunch guardian of peace” that actively participates and is never absent. We will work to maintain peace and stability in cross-Strait relations. We will make efforts to facilitate domestic reconciliation, strengthen our democratic institutions, consolidate consensus, and present a united position to the outside world.
For us to accomplish our goals, dialogue and communication are absolutely crucial. Taiwan will also become a “proactive communicator for peace.” We will establish mechanisms for intensive and routine communications with all parties involved, and exchange views at all times to prevent misjudgment, establish mutual trust, and effectively resolve disputes. We will handle related disputes in adherence to the principles of maintaining peace and sharing interests.
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.
We will also work to maintain the existing mechanisms for dialogue and communication across the Taiwan Strait. In 1992, the two institutions representing each side across the Strait (SEF & ARATS), through communication and negotiations, arrived at various joint acknowledgements and understandings. It was done in a spirit of mutual understanding and a political attitude of seeking common ground while setting aside differences. I respect this historical fact. Since 1992, over twenty years of interactions and negotiations across the Strait have enabled and accumulated outcomes which both sides must collectively cherish and sustain; and it is based on such existing realities and political foundations that the stable and peaceful development of the cross-Strait relationship must be continuously promoted. The new government will conduct cross-Strait affairs in accordance with the Republic of China Constitution, the Act Governing Relations Between the People of Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, and other relevant legislation. The two governing parties across the Strait must set aside the baggage of history, and engage in positive dialogue, for the benefit of the people on both sides.
By existing political foundations, I refer to a number of key elements. The first element is the fact of the 1992 talks between the two institutions representing each side across the Strait (SEF & ARATS), when there was joint acknowledgement of setting aside differences to seek common ground. This is a historical fact. The second element is the existing Republic of China constitutional order. The third element pertains to the outcomes of over twenty years of negotiations and interactions across the Strait. And the fourth relates to the democratic principle and prevalent will of the people of Taiwan.
5. Diplomatic and global issues
The fifth area for the new government to take up is to fulfill our duty as a citizen of the world and contribute towards diplomatic and global issues. We will bring Taiwan closer to the world, and the world closer to Taiwan.
With us here today are many heads of state and delegations. I would like to thank them for their longstanding assistance to Taiwan and for giving us the opportunity to participate in the international community. Going forward, through governmental interactions, business investment and people-to-people collaborations, we will continue to share Taiwan’s experience in economic development and build lasting partnerships with our allies.
Taiwan has been a model citizen in global civil society. Since our democratization, we have persisted in upholding the universal values of peace, freedom, democracy and human rights. It is with this spirit that we join the alliance of shared values and concerns for global issues. We will continue to deepen our relationships with friendly democracies including the United States, Japan and Europe to advance multifaceted cooperation on the basis of shared values.
We will proactively participate in international economic and trade cooperation and rule-making, steadfastly defend the global economic order, and integrate into important regional trade and commercial architecture. We will also not be absent on the prevention of global warming and climate change. We will create within the Executive Yuan an office for energy and carbon-reduction. We will regularly review goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the agreement negotiated at the COP21 meeting in Paris. Together with friendly nations we will safeguard a sustainable earth.
At the same time, the new government will support and participate in international cooperation on emerging global issues including humanitarian aid, medical assistance, disease prevention and research, anti-terrorism cooperation and jointly tackling transnational crime. Taiwan will be an indispensable partner for the international community.
From the first direct Presidential Election in 1996 to this year, exactly 20 years have gone by. Thanks to two decades of hard work by successive governments and civil society, we have overcome many obstacles that emerging democracies must confront. Throughout this process, we have had many touching moments and stories. But like other countries, we have also experienced anxiety, unease, contradictions and conflict.
We have witnessed confrontation within society; confrontation between progressive and conservative forces, between pro-environment and pro-development views, and between political ideologies. These confrontations have sparked the energy for mobilization during election seasons. But also because of these dichotomies, our democracy gradually lost its ability to solve problems.
Democracy is a process. In every era, those who work in politics must recognize clearly the responsibilities they shoulder. Democracy can fall backward, but it can also move forward. Standing here today, I want to say to everyone: for us, falling backwards is not an option. The new government’s duty is to move Taiwan’s democracy forward to the next stage: before, democracy was about winning or losing the election. Now, democracy is about the welfare of the people. Before, democracy was a showdown between two opposing values. Now, democracy is a conversation between many diverse values.
To build a “united democracy” that is not hijacked by ideology; to build an “efficient democracy” that responds to the problems of society and economy; to build a “pragmatic democracy” that takes care of the people – this is the significance of the new era.
As long as we believe, the new era will arrive. As long as our leaders have unwavering faith, the new era will be born in the hands of our generation.
Dear fellow Taiwanese, my speech is coming to a close, but reforms are just about to start. From this moment on, the weight of the country rests upon the new government. It is my duty for you all to see this country change.
History will remember this courageous generation. This country’s prosperity, dignity, unity, confidence and justice all bear the marks of our struggle. History will remember our courage. It will remember that in the year 2016, we took this country in a new direction. Everyone on this land can be proud of having participated in changing Taiwan.
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.