The New Year is traditionally a time of rejuvenation and renewal. For the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), this spirit of fresh thinking and new approaches will characterize policies aimed at revitalizing the nation in 2017. It will also spill over to efforts in leading all segments of society in standing united together to face the challenges of tomorrow.
In an address delivered Dec. 31, 2016, at the Office of the President in Taipei City, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) laid out the government’s four-pronged plan for the coming 12 months, with the first and foremost task boosting the economy through restructuring and attracting across-the-board infrastructure investment.
The New Model for Economic Development remains the cornerstone of this process. In addition, strong supporting roles will be played by the five-plus-two innovative industries initiative and programs spanning child care, long-term care, residential building refurbishment and social housing construction.
Meeting the needs of future generations through regionally balanced and managed infrastructure development is also key to this undertaking. A wide variety of projects are in the pipeline, including a green rail transport system; networks for broadband and super-broadband cloud communications; engineering projects to combat flooding and droughts brought about by climate change; and facilities for generating low-carbon and non-nuclear sources of energy.
The second task is advancing major reforms in critical areas such as Taiwan’s system of public pensions. After extensive consultations, a comprehensive proposal with the overarching goal of ensuring the long-term financial viability of the system will be submitted to the Legislative Yuan during the lawmaking body’s February-May session.
The third task is to adapt to changing international circumstances and maintain peace and stability. Finding opportunities for Taiwan to play a more active role in regional economics, security and trade, as well as shouldering greater responsibility, is a top priority for the government. Trade liberalization is the order of the day, with the peoplecentric New Southbound Policy the main conduit for strengthening cooperation between Taiwan and the 18 countries covered by the initiative. The policy seeks to deepen Taiwan’s agricultural, business, cultural, educational, trade and tourism links with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.
At the same time, the government will advance dialogue with important trading nations and regions including the EU, Japan and the U.S. to strengthen bilateral and multilateral economic cooperation. By pursuing mutual benefits and win-win outcomes, Taiwan can expand its external economic and trade relationships while driving the economy forward.
Concerning foreign affairs, the government is committed to the approach of steadfast diplomacy, which advocates mutual assistance for mutual benefits. In this way, Taiwan can expand its cooperation and strengthen its substantive ties with ROC diplomatic allies and other friendly countries.
Of equal importance are cross-strait relations. The government is to continue maintaining peaceful and stable exchanges across the strait. Through its unchanged goodwill and desire to seek common ground, the government hopes the two sides can accomplish more positive developments. This commitment will not change and the government will not bow to pressure, nor will it revert to the old path of confrontation.
The fourth task is to seriously address divisive issues. Space must be found for dialogue between divergent opinions and reasonable ways found to resolve the differences. In this pivotal year, determination and fortitude will be the watchwords as the government undertakes its all-out plan and strives to meet the expectations of the people in laying a solid foundation for Taiwan’s development for generations to come.