Update: Today Latest News

(Source: Reuters)

Lai Ching-te Sworn in as Taiwan’s President and Says Taiwan and China “are not subordinate to each other”

Lai Ching-te (aka William Lai) was sworn in as the 8th and 16th term President of Taiwan on May 20, 2024. The following are excerpts from his inaugural address as released by the Office of the President   

I. Democratic Taiwan as a global beacon

My fellow citizens: Democracy, peace, and prosperity form Taiwan’s national roadmap. And they are also our links to the world.

As an important link in the global chain of democracies, a glorious era of Taiwan’s democracy has arrived.

Since Taiwan first held direct presidential elections, we have grown to become one of the world’s most vibrant democracies. We have continued to enhance human rights, and show the world our values of democracy and freedom.

Taiwan was the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

Taiwan showed that democracy outperforms authoritarianism in fighting the pandemic.

Whether in terms of democracy or freedom, Taiwan is consistently highly ranked among Asian nations. Democratic Taiwan is already a global beacon. And this honor belongs to all the people of Taiwan.

As we move forward, my administration will continue using Taiwan’s democratic vitality as a force for good, to promote national development and deepen international cooperation.

II. Democratic Taiwan as a pilot for global peace

Today, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and conflict between Israel and Hamas continue to shake the whole world. And China’s military actions and gray-zone coercion are considered the greatest strategic challenges to global peace and stability.

The future of cross-strait relations will have a decisive impact on the world. This means that we, who have inherited a democratic Taiwan, are pilots for peace. Our government will uphold the Four Commitments, neither yield nor provoke, and maintain the status quo.

I also want to call on China to cease their political and military intimidation against Taiwan, share with Taiwan the global responsibility of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait as well as the greater region, and ensure the world is free from the fear of war.

Taiwanese are a peace-loving people who treat others with kindness. I have always believed that if the leader of a country puts the people’s welfare above all, then peace in the Taiwan Strait, mutual benefits, and prosperous coexistence would be common goals.

Therefore, I hope that China will face the reality of the Republic of China’s existence, respect the choices of the people of Taiwan, and in good faith, choose dialogue over confrontation, exchange over containment, and under the principles of parity and dignity, engage in cooperation with the legal government chosen by Taiwan’s people. This can start from the resumption of tourism on a reciprocal basis, and enrollment of degree students in Taiwanese institutions. Let us together pursue peace and mutual prosperity.

My fellow citizens: As we pursue the ideal of peace, we must not harbor any delusions. So long as China refuses to renounce the use of force against Taiwan, all of us in Taiwan ought to understand, that even if we accept the entirety of China’s position and give up our sovereignty, China’s ambition to annex Taiwan will not simply disappear.

In face of the many threats and attempts of infiltration from China, we must demonstrate our resolution to defend our nation, and we must also raise our defense awareness and strengthen our legal framework for national security. This means actively promoting the Four Pillars of Peace action plan: strengthened national defense; improved economic security; stable and principled cross-strait leadership; and values-based diplomacy. By standing side-by-side with other democratic countries, we can form a peaceful global community that can demonstrate the strength of deterrence and prevent war, achieving our goal of peace through strength.

III.With greater solidarity, we become stronger as a nation

I think it is apparent to us all: We have a nation insofar as we have sovereignty. Right in the first chapter of our Constitution, it says that “The sovereignty of the Republic of China shall reside in the whole body of citizens,” and that “Persons possessing the nationality of the Republic of China shall be citizens of the Republic of China.” These two articles tell us clearly: The Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China are not subordinate to each other. All of the people of Taiwan must come together to safeguard our nation; all our political parties ought to oppose annexation and protect sovereignty; and no one should entertain the idea of giving up our national sovereignty in exchange for political power.