Hundred and ten years ago China, thanks to the efforts of Sun Yat-sen, abandoned its imperial status and became a Republic. As a conseqeunce, it engaged in a process that in part is still on-going: what kind of a Republic? And what is exactly the land over which it exerts its sovereignety? Since 1949, with the end of the Civil war that saw Nationalists and Communists fighting each other, a separation has come about: on the one side, mailand China dominated by a Communist regime that has evolved into a Communist-Capitalist regime after the death of President Mao Zedong, and on the other side the insular territories of Taiwan where the former Nationalists took shelter, establishing a regime that has evolved into a fully democratic one. In the year 2021 it seems more and more urgent that an agreed-upon solution for the problem of the parallel existence of what the International community considers “two Chinas” be reached, and be reached in a civilized, mutually advantageous and peaceful way. In ordert to contribute to such a perspective we republish here some excerpts of the speech that was delivered by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen for the celebration of the National Day, Oct. 10, 2021. Its main focus was the call for a national unity and a peaceful solution of the cross-strait problems, i.e. the tensions and dicrepancies existing with Continantal China.
President Tsai National Day Address
Today is the 110th National Day of the Republic of China. Every year, on this day, we gather together to celebrate our nation’s birthday.
On this solemn occasion, we pay tribute to our forebears who called this land their home. Though they arrived in Taiwan at different times, they all dedicated themselves to our beautiful homeland. Today, everyone living in Taiwan is a part of this community in which we share a common destiny. Together, we have passed one test after another. (…)
The Republic of China came to Taiwan in 1949, 72 years ago. Over these past 72 years, we have gone from poverty to prosperity, from authoritarianism to democracy, and from uniformity to diversity. Slowly but surely, we remade the Republic of China (Taiwan) into what it is today.
Admired around the world, what we have today is the result of the work of many generations. No one group can take sole credit for this work, nor should any one group be denied credit for what we have all achieved together.
During the August 23 Artillery War of 1958 in Kinmen, our brave troops fought side by side, without regard for where one another came from. Party affiliation does not divide those working in Taiwan’s crucially important semiconductor industry. Cheng Nan-jung’s (鄭南榕) father was from China. Larisa Bakurova (瑞莎) hails from Ukraine. Wen Chen-ling’s (温貞菱) mother is a Filipina of Chinese descent, and her father is part Hakka and part Japanese. Recently departed baseball star Wang Kuang-hui (王光輝) was a member of the indigenous Amis tribe.
We all get upset when our national flag is not displayed. We all get angry when Taiwan is suppressed. These are ups and downs that we all share. In this inclusive country, nobody is judged based on when they arrived, nobody is held accountable for the deeds of their ancestors, and nobody is excluded from our shared community because of where they came from. As long as we respect and appreciate this land and what it stands for, Taiwan will always welcome everyone with open arms and bring people together.
The past 72 years of development have transformed the face of our nation. But throughout this transformation, our resolve to uphold our sovereignty and defend our homeland has remained unchanged. (…)
This resolve has never been limited to a single political party or faction. Kuomintang Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), Taiwan People’s Party Chairman Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), and New Power Party Chairperson Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) are all in attendance today.
Your being here at this event is one of the beautiful scenes in Taiwan’s democracy. There will always be competition between political parties. But whenever our nation’s dignity or the future of our people is at stake, we come together for the sake of the Taiwanese people to defend our sovereignty and our free and democratic way of life. (…)
Over the past few years, in response to changing global economic circumstances, we have facilitated the return of many overseas Taiwanese businesses and accelerated our industrial transformation, reversing the slow economic growth, capital outflow, and talent drain caused by the past 30 years of over-reliance on a single market.
Today, Taiwan’s economic performance is back in the lead of the Four Asian Tigers, attracting global attention and proving that we can create a more resilient and self-reliant economic development model. (…)
In addition, we must consider the direction of our national energy policy.
No nation can maintain economic momentum with an inconsistent energy policy. We have already aligned ourselves with the international community in announcing our goal to work toward net zero emissions by 2050. We also need to work with all sectors of society to draw up a roadmap that will help us stay on top of relevant developments and assess risks early on, so that we can build a more flexible and responsive power supply network.
This is key to both our competitiveness and environmental sustainability.
Dealing with these important issues is the only way to lay a foundation for long-term stability and leave a better country for future generations. In the past, differences in party stance or political identification often turned discussions of the methods and approaches needed to solve these issues into endless ideological battles. These disputes are of no help to our nation’s development, and only compel us to waste our own energy without making any progress.
This is why, during my next few years in office, I want to draw on the dynamism of our society to look for ways to solve these issues together. By facilitating cooperation between society and government, we can work to find common ground among different ideas, gradually resolve difficult issues, and build a firm foundation on which to guide our national development. (…)