TAIPEI, (CNA).- President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in her National Day address Wednesday that Taiwan must bolster its national strength in order to achieve sustainable survival amid a changing international landscape and challenges arising from China's coercion.
In her speech titled "Democratic Taiwan Lights up the World," Tsai said Taiwan will not act rashly to escalate confrontation with China, nor will it give in to pressure, but rather will seek to attain stability, adaptability, and progress.
"An effective response strategy must be rooted in national strength," Tsai said on the 107th anniversary of the Republic of China (Taiwan). "So right now, our most important task is to strengthen national security, economy, and the social safety net. We will continue to make Taiwan stronger, and irreplaceable in the global community. This is Taiwan's niche for sustainable survival."
On the national security front, Tsai said her administration will continue to strengthen the country's value-based diplomatic links and seek to establish irreplaceable strategic importance, in recognition of Taiwan's geostrategic position.
"In facing changing international circumstances, our strategic choice is clear, and that is to staunchly defend freedom, democracy, and the market economy," she said. "These fundamental values have been important foundations in helping Taiwan become a model of Asian democracy and develop a strong economy."
In addition, she said, Taiwan must also upgrade its national defense capabilities, prevent foreign powers from infiltrating and subverting society, and realign and rearrange its global and economic and trade strategy, as part of its efforts to improve national security.
On the goal of strengthening the economy, Tsai said the approach is to promote economic transformation, efficiently implement the government's infrastructure plan, ensure that the benefits of economic development extend to everyone, and resolve the shortages of land, water, electricity and labor that are of concern to the business sector.
"With the economy's structural transformation and infrastructure construction both underway, and the investment environment showing improvement, we can see that Taiwan's economy is recovering and beginning to show steady growth," Tsai said.
She also said Taiwan will work with its diplomatic allies to establish a foundation for sustainable economic development for all sides, including dealing with the challenges of climate change, opening new markets and new production bases.
The third major aspect of bolstering national security is to create a sound social security net, the president indicated.
"When I first took office in 2016, people's most pressing concerns were high housing costs, the lack of care services for senior citizens, the heavy burden of childcare, poor public security, and the influx of illegal drugs threatening the nation," Tsai said.
In response, she said, her administration has launched a wide range of initiatives such as social housing projects, long-term care services, child care subsidies, a "quasi-public" daycare and preschool system, and crackdowns on fraud rings and crime organizations.
"Over the next four years, NT$10 billion has been allocated to fund a New Era Anti-Drug Strategy to eradicate drug networks from our society," Tsai said.
She said Taiwan will also continue on its path to reform in areas such as revising the national pension system, creating a nuclear-free homeland and achieving transitional justice.
"We have always believed that our distinctive resilience allows Taiwanese to respond to never-ending internal and external challenges by coming together to make this country better," Tsai said. "This captures the true meaning of this year's National Day theme, 'Taiwan, Together.'"
(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)