Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen gave a powerful speech about the value of democracy, freedom and what it means to be Taiwanese on the country’s national day on Monday Oct. 10.
Speaking outside the presidential office in the capital, Taipei, Tsai said that the people of Taiwan have formed a strong sense of identity and belonging over the past 73 years and that the broadest consensus among Taiwanese people and the various political parties is that Taiwan’s sovereignty and free and democratic way of life must be protected.
“On this point, we have no room for compromise,” she said.
With tensions in the Taiwan Strait at a new high, Tsai stressed to the Chinese government – which claims Taiwan as its territory – that “armed confrontation is absolutely not an option for the two sides,” calling for rationality, equality and mutual respect to improve cross-strait relations.
Addressing the people of Taiwan, Tsai said highlighted how Taiwan’s economy, security and democracy could benefit not just the country, but the world.
“This is the years-long road we have traveled, from a darker time to a brighter future,” she said. “Though it has been a difficult road, those difficulties have shown us what it means to be Taiwanese, and have helped us see what Taiwan means to the world.”
“Today’s Taiwan is democratic, free, prosperous, and culturally diverse. Not only has Taiwan become a focus of global attention, but our people have come together around a shared determination to safeguard our homeland,” she said.
“Today, saying ‘I am Taiwanese’ is an honor and a statement of pride,” she said.
She concluded her speech by calling on Taiwanese people to work together to “make Taiwan a Taiwan of the world, and… give the world an even better Taiwan.”