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President Tsai delivers 2023 New Year's Address (excerpt: cross-strait relations)

  • Date:2023-01-01

Last August, China's large-scale military drills in the areas around Taiwan drew the world's attention, and our steady-handed response showed the world Taiwan's resilience and determination to defend our freedom. Despite the impacts of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and amid a changing global political and economic landscape, the people of Taiwan made it through the past 365 days with poise.

I also want to remind the authorities in Beijing that all stakeholders in this region bear a shared responsibility for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Indeed, peace and stability is what we all hope for.

From the pandemic to international political and economic upheaval, we on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are facing many of the same challenges. But war has never been a way to solve problems, and only through dialogue, cooperation, and joint efforts toward the goals of regional stability and development, can we help more people enjoy security and happiness.

We are aware that the pandemic situation has recently become more serious in China. If need be, we are willing, out of humanitarian concern, to provide necessary assistance to help more people get through the pandemic and enjoy good health and peace of mind in the new year.

As the pandemic situation has continued to grow worse in China, many countries have adopted more rigorous measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Based on the latest conditions, and in line with guidelines provided by experts, we have adopted pandemic control measures that will remain in place from today through January 31 in order to ensure the health of our citizens.

After her remarks, President Tsai took questions from the media.

President Tsai was asked what challenges are presented by the current cross-strait situation, and what her opinion is on Chinese President Xi Jinping's statement in his own New Year's message that "The people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are members of one and the same family. I sincerely hope that our compatriots on both sides of the Strait will work together." Saying that she had noticed President Xi's softer tone in this speech, President Tsai issued a reminder that the activities of the People's Liberation Army in the areas around Taiwan are of no help to cross-strait relations or to regional peace and stability. The president stated that Taiwan and China's shared challenges in 2023 include the post-pandemic resumption of healthy and orderly cross-strait people-to-people exchanges, the need to respond to a variety of economic changes caused by the global economic downturn, and our shared duty to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the broader region, all of which are responsibilities that the two sides of the strait must jointly address.

Asked whether cross-strait discourse has shifted from the previously used slogan of "resisting China and protecting Taiwan" to "peacefully defending Taiwan" in light of her statement that everyone hopes for peace across the Taiwan Strait and in light of Vice President Lai's expression of the need to "peacefully defend Taiwan," President Tsai said that no matter the wording, they share the same goal of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The president further emphasized that to defend Taiwan, we must also continue to comprehensively strengthen our readiness to ensure we are fully capable of safeguarding Taiwan.