President Ma Ying-jeou’s New Year’s Day address


TAIPEI — The following is the full English text of Ma’s 2015 New Year’s Day address as released by the Presidential Office:

Vice President Wu, Presidents of the Five Yuan, Presidential Advisors, Senior Officials, Honored Guests, Fellow Countrymen, and Overseas Compatriots: Happy New Year!

On this, the first day of the 104th year of the Republic of China, I wish our people health, peace, and happiness in the coming year.

Over the past year, our society has experienced a bit of turmoil. However, discontent and antagonism notwithstanding, people have expressed their views through the ballot. Taiwan has, over time, become a mature democracy, and so we saw calm return soon after the elections.

Following the food safety crises of last year, we acknowledged our failures, and learned from our mistakes. Tapping into every resource at our disposal as the nation’s government, we carried out thorough investigations and imposed severe punishments. We also amended the law to significantly increase penalties. Furthermore, the public and private sectors have jointly established a three-tier quality control system to ensure food safety. I am confident that as long as we remain firm in our commitment to punish shady practices and completely eliminate tainted food, our food industry will certainly be able to transform itself and rebuild Taiwan’s reputation as a land of culinary delights.

As the new year unfolds, the government must bear in mind the lessons it has learned. Temporary calm does not mean that issues have been resolved, but rather that people are anticipating reform. If we who are responsible for governing the country fail to critically assess our performance and find ways to dispel dissatisfaction and antagonism, society will not remain peaceable for long.

Therefore, as we ring in this new year, I wish to address the direction of our future efforts in three spheres: social reconciliation; cooperation between the ruling and opposition camps; and peace across the Taiwan Strait.