by Matthew Strong
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan wants to be part of a regional economic community as a “staunch guardian of peace,” President Tsai Ing-wen said in her inauguration speech Friday.
Foreign policy and relations with China were two of five major topics she listed in the 30-minute address.
Taiwan faced the threat of not only becoming insignificant, but even becoming marginalized and losing the ability to determine its own future, Tsai said, adding that where there was a crisis, there was also opportunity.
The country should forge an intimate sense of “economic community” with contributions to the region’s structural adjustment and sustainable development, she said.
Tsai mentioned her new government’s “New Southbound Policy,” which as announced earlier will have its own office headed by former Foreign Minister James Huang.
Touching on relations with China, the new president described Taiwan as a “staunch guardian of peace” and a “proactive communicator for peace.”
On the issue of disputed islands, she said that it was her responsibility to safeguard the sovereignty and territory of the Republic of China. “Regarding problems arising in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, we propose setting aside disputes so as to enable joint development,” Tsai said.
As expected, the new president announced her government would try and play a more pronounced role in international relations.
“We will bring Taiwan closer to the world, and the world closer to Taiwan,” she said, describing the country as a model citizen in global civil society and naming the United States, Japan and Europe as friendly democracies she wanted to deepen relations with.
Tsai promised more attention for environmental policies, with the formation of an office for energy and carbon-reduction and regular reviews of progress in cutting greenhouse gases.
“Taiwan will be an indispensable partner for the international community,” she concluded the part of her speech dealing with foreign relations.
keywords: inauguration, Tsai Ing-wen
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