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President Ma Ying-jeou's Address to the 'Double Tenth' Rally

October 10, 2008
Your Excellency President Colom, Distinguished Guests, Overseas Compatriots, My Fellow Countrymen:
Good morning, and greetings to you all!
Today is the National Day of the Republic of China. Ninety-seven years ago today, the gunfire of the Wuchang Uprising aroused an ancient nation from its sleep, as a revolution led by our founding father, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, ended 5,000 years of imperial rule and gave birth to Asia's first democratic republic. Over the past century, the Republic of China has been afflicted by domestic upheaval and foreign aggression. True to the nation's founding spirit of indomitability, however, we have remained undaunted, standing up and continuing to march forward whenever we have stumbled.
Taking responsibility for the people's suffering
Since May of this year, when the new administration took office, the world has been rocked by a financial crisis on a scale rarely seen. With the global economy in turmoil, this administration has been steadfastly proactive in responding to resultant challenges. Externally, we have worked to promote peace across the Taiwan Strait and cultivate international friendships, while internally, we have striven to promote reconciliation among groups of different backgrounds and between political parties. We hope that with more stable political environments at home and abroad, we can better manage crises and carry out in-depth reforms that will enable us to curb inflation, save energy and reduce carbon emissions, augment infrastructural development, boost employment, reduce disparities in wealth, strengthen our economy, crack down on corruption, and bring an end to illegal eavesdropping.
My fellow countrymen, although this administration has been hard at work, our citizenry expects more from us. We feel deeply the pain of our people caused by the economic downturn. This administration will shoulder the responsibility to end suffering for as long as it exists. We must therefore accelerate the pace of reform and, with firm commitment, unite our forces as a nation to break through economic roadblocks.
Overcoming adversity, advancing on the path of prosperity
Invigorating our economy is this administration's top priority. Challenges to our economy present golden opportunities for reform. Currently, we are pressing forward with deregulation in order to expedite economic growth, and we are renovating infrastructure to fortify the constitution of our economy. With deregulation, our businesses can bring their competitive advantages into full play, enabling them to become more firmly rooted in Taiwan, while integrating with the Asia-Pacific region and deploying worldwide. With comprehensive retooling of infrastructural hardware and software, our businesses will have enhanced power to attract investment and talent from all over the world. Moreover, with our implementation of diverse programs to promote social security and ensure the welfare of disadvantaged groups, Taiwan's society will become fairer, more compassionate, and more harmonious.
Given the growing interdependence among nations in this era of globalization, however, crises related to epidemics, pollution, or finance can spread around the world overnight. The recent global financial troubles and the danger posed by tainted milk from mainland China are two striking examples of such crises, which have heightened our vigilance against potential hazards of integrating ourselves with the rest of the world, including mainland China. This is not to say that we must give up eating simply for fear of choking. Rather, we should turn crises into opportunities. While our policies of deregulation and liberalization will remain unchanged, this government will make every effort to minimize social risks by strengthening safety controls and crisis-management mechanisms.
It is my firm belief that the joint efforts of our government and people will not be in vain. With unwavering confidence, even in the face of the fiercest storms, we surely will overcome adversity and advance along the path of prosperity.
Safeguarding the ROC's sovereignty
After taking office on May 20, with a strong mandate from the people, the new government swiftly re-established cross-strait dialogue, which had been disrupted for a decade. This has significantly eased cross-strait tensions and made a clear contribution to regional stability and peace, winning the affirmation of the international community, including that of the United States, Japan, the European Union, various Southeast Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.
While differences still exist between Taiwan and mainland China over sovereignty issues, we hope that the two sides can apply wisdom to shelve disputes and chart courses to steadily extend the political reconciliation achieved in cross-strait relations to the international arena. We hope to thereby eliminate unnecessary conflict and confrontation between the two sides in the international community, and create a win-win-win situation for Taiwan, mainland China, and the world community.
At the same time, we must maintain a solid national defense so that we can promote peace across the strait without having our security compromised. Now, let's join together to safeguard our country's sovereignty and our precious island home.
A confident Taiwan
Improving cross-strait relations within the framework of the ROC Constitution and through a policy of no unification talks with mainland China, no creation of an independent Taiwan republic, and no use of force to settle sovereignty issues is the shared hope of the people of Taiwan. Doing so, however, cannot be based on wishful thinking. In the course of exchanges between Taiwan and mainland China, this administration will surely uphold the principle of "putting Taiwan first for the benefit of the people." Taiwan's interests cannot be compromised, and the dignity of its people must be staunchly defended.
I believe that as long as the Republic of China attends to its own development, we will not only strengthen our international standing, but bring new hope for future prospect of Chinese people everywhere. It should be understood that the people of Taiwan are the masters of their land and a force driving the advancement of Chinese people. The greater the dangers and the more daunting the predicaments that confront us, the more we are able to show the world our people's kindhearted, upright, honest, hardworking, tolerant, and enterprising nature. In facing challenges, we need to emulate the fighting spirit of our country's Olympic taekwondo contestant Su Li-wen; the courage of Wei Te-shen, director of the movie Cape No. 7, to remain true to his ideals; and the passion that drives the Ming Hwa Yuan Taiwanese Opera Company to take their art to audiences around the world. We need to aim high and remain courageous and confident. By so doing, I am certain that our nation's vibrant democracy, rich cultural diversity, and balanced social and economic development will win the respect and affirmation of the people in mainland China and those worldwide.
After the storm, clear skies await
My fellow countrymen: This administration has full confidence in its ability to fulfill its commitments to our people and to take Taiwan's economy to new heights. We are equally confident that we can rebuild a clean and competent government for our people and win the battle against corruption.
In the face of turmoil and uncertainty in the global economy, it is incumbent upon me as President of the Republic of China to be resolute and persevering in leading our country through these difficult times. A century ago, Dr. Sun Yat-sen encountered countless challenges as leader of the revolution that established the republic. He managed, nevertheless, to weather all the setbacks and frustrations and, after ten failed attempts, finally met with success. And three decades ago, under the shadow of two oil crises, the late President Chiang Ching-kuo demonstrated great poise and unruffled leadership style in carrying forward the Ten Major Construction Projects that powered a surge of sustained economic development.
Today, as we press forward with a new agenda, we share with these leaders the same lofty sentiments and aspirations. If only we persevere and support each other, storms certainly will give way to clear skies.
【Source: Office of the President】