Following a week of tense interactions with Beijing (click here to read more), Taiwan celebrated its Double Ten Day on Sunday, October 10, 2021. The theme of the event was democracy and Taiwan’s role in the world.
The day’s ceremonial event kicked off with a greeting from Taiwan’s legislative president Yu Shyi-kun who welcomed guests and gave a short speech that touched on Covid-19, Taiwanese Olympic Triumphs, economic growth, and historical pursuit of democracy and freedom.
“Taiwan is an important part of the world,” he said. It is “a force for good, a force for democracy, and a friendly presence.”
Sherry Chen, an overseas Taiwanese representative and former congresswoman of South Africa, presented the second speech which touched on similar themes to Yu. She lauded Taiwan’s global Covid-19 contributions and voiced support for its many economic recovery plans – from Relief Plan 4.0 to Taiwan’s attempts to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Chen emphasized that Taiwan has built international support among like minded democracies around the world. She noted that fourteen diplomatic allies, including the U.S., Canada, Japan, the UK, and Australia, had voiced their support of Taiwan joining the World Health Assembly.
“It is evident that Taiwan’s pursuance of democracy, freedom, and human rights has helped it gain true friendship in the international community.”Sherry Chen – speaking during Taiwan’s National Day Celebrations
She claimed that Taiwan’s overseas compatriots like herself would remain important supporters of the Taiwanese government and would not cease to call on other countries to support Taiwan’s’ participation in the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
She finished her speech with the simple rallying cry, “Go Taiwan!”
President Tsai Presents the Event’s Final Speech – “Forging a Strong Consensus: Standing United to Protect Taiwan.”
Following a performance by an indigenous singing group, President Tsai Ing-wen’s presented the final speech which had five main points:
- Taiwan displays its resilience through unity and international pandemic cooperation.
- Taiwan’s currently faces unprecedented challenges amid a complex regional landscape.
- Taiwan political parties need to build consensus around four commitments to preserve freedom and democracy.
- Taiwan needs societal cooperation to resolve important political differences.
- Taiwan maintains the ability to engage the world with pride and confidence.
In the first part of her speech, President Tsai emphasized that Taiwan citizens compromise a community with a common destiny. She expressed her gratitude for the people’s sacrifice related to Covid-19 measures and extended her thanks to overseas nations for their supportive measures.
She noted that Taiwan shared a symbiotic relationship with the rest of the world. She pointed to its contribution of over 50 million face masks in 2020 and to the return gesture of political allies who collectively donated more than 7 million Covid-19 vaccines to Taiwan. She also noted Taiwan’s important role in the global supply chain of semiconductors.
Tsai also highlighted Taiwan’s goal of broadening democratic alliances, pointing to talks between the United States and Taiwan regarding a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) as well as ongoing CPTPP discussions.
Turning to current challenges, she noted that the more Taiwan achieves, the more pressure it receives from China. She hailed Taiwan as a first line of defense against a global rise in authoritarianism, noted Beijing’s recent military activity over Taiwan’s air defense zone, and emphasized the importance of peace and security in the Taiwan Strait. Calling for peaceful dialogue with China, she underscored Taiwan’s determination to maintain the status quo.
“We will continue to bolster our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves in order to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us. This is because the path that China has laid out offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people.”President Tsai takes a bold stance during her National Day speech.
At the speech’s midpoint, President Tsai outlined four common commitments that should be shared across Taiwanese political parties to ensure freedom for future generations:
- Commitment to a free and democratic constitutional system
- Commitment that the Republic of China (ROC) and the People’s Republic of China should not be subordinate to each other
- Commitment to resist annexation or encroachment upon Taiwanese sovereignty
- Commitment that the future of the ROC (Taiwan) must be decided in accordance with the will of the Taiwanese people
In the fourth part of her speech, President Tsai praised Taiwan’s transforming economy as one which was no longer dependent on a single market and which was now performing “back in the lead of the Four Asian Tigers.” To ensure long-term stability, she emphasized that Taiwan’s political parties must cooperate and find consensus. Such consensus would be required to solve ongoing Constitutional issues, justice reform, and critical energy reform.
Presidents Tsai ended the speech on an uplifting note, highlighting Taiwanese achievements, praising Taiwanese athletes and military personal, and emphasizing Taiwan’s important place in the world.
“Let us embrace our global role, and make Taiwan a Taiwan of the world. I wish the Republic of China a happy 110th anniversary, and good health and many happy returns to all my fellow citizens.”President Tsai ends her National Day speech on a high note.
Post by: CJ Fisher