TAIPEI (CNA) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Wednesday praised the unity and resilience of Taiwan’s people in dealing with COVID-19 and pledged strong responses to the future challenges the global pandemic has created for the world economy.
In her inaugural address, Tsai thanked Taiwan’s citizens for their sacrifices during the outbreak, which helped the country stay unified in combating the new coronavirus disease.
It is because of those efforts that Taiwan has so far been able to contain the spread of the virus, a success story that has “amazed the international community,” she said.
“This sense of pride in our country, this community’s shared destiny, and the memories of these past months will live on in all of our hearts. This is what solidarity feels like,” she said.
Tsai urged people to remain vigilant, however, as the pandemic will linger for a while, and warned they will have to be prepared for a new post-coronavirus era.
She said COVID-19 has profoundly affected the world and reshaped the global political and economic order, which is accelerating the reorganization of global supply chains.
“These changes present us with both challenges and opportunities. I want to ask that my fellow citizens be prepared, because countless challenges and difficulties remain ahead of us,” she said.
With that in mind, Tsai pledged that her administration will conduct a series of comprehensive reforms to “proactively develop our industries, foster a safe society, ensure national security, and deepen our democracy.”
“I am going to reinvent Taiwan and lead our country into the future,” she affirmed.
In terms of economic development, Tsai said she will build on the foundation of her administration’s 5+2 Major Innovative Industries policy, which is focused on moving Taiwan’s industrial base away from conventional manufacturing and into more technology-oriented industries.
She announced a “six core strategic industries” plan to promote the development of ICT industries, get into global supply chains, and make Taiwan a base for next-generation technologies, such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.
Tsai also touched on potential reform efforts in other areas, including national security, judicial reform and constitutional reform.
In terms of national security, she announced military reforms, including an effort to expand asymmetric warfare capabilities in the face of the growing military threat from China, and plans to strengthen ties with like-minded nations through participation in international organizations.
On the Constitution, Tsai said her government will soon form a constitutional reform committee in the Legislative Yuan that will serve as a platform for discussion of proposed constitutional amendments.
One priority will be whether to lower the minimum voting age from the existing 20 to 18, the president indicated, saying that the majority and opposition parties in the lawmaking body are in agreement over the issue.
The president also repeated her stance on judicial reform and support for a lay judge system, in which randomly selected ordinary citizens serve as lay judges and work alongside professional judges in criminal courts.
“This will help bridge the distance between the people and our judicial system, so that it aligns better with their expectations and earns their trust,” she said.
Tsai also announced that a national human rights commission will be established in August — a milestone for the repurposing of the Control Yuan, which is the body responsible for monitoring and investigating the other branches of government.