Thursday, June 04, 2015

Tsai Ing-wen at CSIS, DPP transcript of speech and Q&A

A bright day...

This just came through the internets in English and Chinese, with Q and A at the bottom. Her comment on Thatcher is priceless... it's wonky, too tired to clean it up tonight.


民主進步黨主席暨總統參選人蔡英文在今(3日美國時間下午在華府美國智庫戰略暨國際研究中心(CSIS以「台灣迎向挑戰-打造亞洲新價值的典範(Taiwan Meeting the Challenges Crafting a Model of New Asian Value)」為題發表演說,全文如下:
Thank you, Bonnie, for your introduction and to CSIS for welcoming me into your magnificent new building.

Mr. Burghardt, Mr. Campbell, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen and members of the media,
It is wonderful to be in Washington, DC again. It is my great honor and pleasure to meet all of you today. I am truly grateful to the fellows and staff at CSIS for making this event possible.
  • Meeting new challenges 面對新的挑戰
On April 15 this year, the Democratic Progressive Party nominated me as its presidential candidate for the 2016 elections. I am greatly honored to be associated with the political party that fought hard against authoritarianism and turned Taiwan into a democracy that today cherishes freedom and human rights. The DPP is proud to have played an imperative role in bringing about such monumental changes in Taiwan.
As a presidential candidate, I have to be ready to deal with rising domestic and external challenges ranging from the gradual erosion of freedom and democracy to an increasing uncertainty over Taiwan's ability to maintain its economic autonomy.
While responding to challenges, we are actually crafting a model of new Asian value, which features participatory democracy, equitable distribution and social justice, innovation-based economy, and proactive peace diplomacy.

  • Responding to the challenge to democracy 回應民主的挑戰
As noted by some prominent international organizations, freedom of speech, freedom of press, and human rights have been on a steady decline in the last few years. In March last year, the undemocratic nature of the ratification process over a cross-strait trade agreement unleashed formidable social forces trying to redirect the path of the government. Now some of the social forces are eager to participate in the political process through public deliberation or even through participation in elections.

The newly found sociopolitical forces may cause the government to slow down if it is not ready to be transparent or open for participation. However, if democratically handled, with the input of enormous dynamism into the decision making process and constant oversight from the public, the government can be much more effective and responsive. This is what I am ready to endeavor, that is,i.e. to deepen our democracy.
  • Economic stagnation and social problems 經濟遲緩與社會問題
For most Taiwanese, the state of our economy is a source of great distress as it has stagnated for some time and has lost momentum for growth. Globalization and China's rise as the world's factory have affected Taiwan's efficiency-driven model of economic growth. This has gradually resulted in a widening income gap, outsourcing of job opportunities, and stagnating salaries. 
The economic slowdown has hit the young generation in particular, who now face an economic environment much harsher than their parents' days. In addition, our various public pension funds have incurred huge implicit deficits that endanger their sustainability. Furthermore, the family-based traditional social safety network no longer suits the needs of the highly urbanized Taiwan. Under these circumstances, one can only imagine the tremendous burdens that are being placed on our younger generation.
  • Economic Measures 經濟措施
Therefore, providing a new economic way forward will be the foremost priority of the coming DPP Administration. I am ready to present the New Model for Economic Development with core elements of innovation, employment, that is, job creation, and equitable distribution. 
The primary objective of the new model is to reshape Taiwan's economic competitiveness by shifting from an efficiency-driven model to an innovation-driven one. It is also aimed at striking a balance between economic growth and social need. In addition, we hope that the new model can help reduce Taiwan's dependence on a single market and to ensure Taiwan's economic autonomy. We were kindly reminded by former Secretary Clinton in June last year that Taiwan would be vulnerable if it loses economic independence. 
I also fully intend to build a strategic partnership with the U.S. on economic cooperation. A DPP administration would like to mount intensive exchanges and cooperation on the next generation infrastructure for Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, big data, and ICT-based new industries, which feature the 4th industrial revolution, or what many call Industry 4.0. I would like to have Taiwan work closely with American firms to renew Taiwan's ICT industries as well.
On international trade, there is an urgent need for Taiwan to participate in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), at least to be included in the second round of negotiations. For this purpose, I have set up a special task force to discuss the important aspects of trade liberalization and the TPP.  Our discussions include the need for structural adjustments and reform, the extent to which Taiwan should adhere to international standards, streamlining legal infrastructure and bureaucratic practices, and making the necessary investments in specific sectors.  We want to ensure that Taiwan is ready to effectively deal with the challenges of globalization.

I would like to thank the U.S. government for expressing welcome to Taiwan's interest. Here I would also like to reiterate that I am determined for Taiwan to be ready for the TPP.
  • Social safety net 社會安全網
When the economy grows, the Taiwan government will be equipped with more resources to invest in social infrastructure. The DPP has unveiled a plan to create a new community-based social safety net, and has inaugurated the plan in some of the local governments under our administration. I also plan to invest in social housing as well as long-term senior care systems. These are highly demanded in Taiwan as it moves to an aging society.
Here I would like to stress that investment in the social safety net is not just welfare spending; it will make good economic sense by meeting local demand and generating local job opportunities.
For Taiwan's economy to be more competitive and our democracy stronger we need to build a military capable of safeguarding the country and maintaining peace. We should also help shape a friendly regional environment by making meaningful contributions to international affairs. Needless to say, a critical component is a need to maintain a peaceful and stable relationship with China.
  • Defense 國防
On defense, to be a reliable partner on regional security, it is my firm belief that proper investment in credible deterrence is the key. In light of the increasing military and security threat that Taiwan faces, developing asymmetric capabilities that involve enhanced military relations with friendly forces, well-trained military personnel in a modern force structure, and acquisition of necessary defense equipment are essential components of our deterrent strategy.

The transition to a voluntary military force has its challenges. I am committed to securing the resources necessary to provide adequate training and education for the active and reserve forces, so that there is not only a high degree of professionalism among the services, but also a quality connection between their military service and job careers.
It is important that mil-to-mil relations with the U.S. continue to intensify in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act and mutual security interests in the region. Taiwan is and will continue to be a reliable partner of the U.S. in ensuring peace and stability in the region.  We must work closely with our American friends, not only in deterring traditional threats and coercion, but also in jointly dealing with other non-traditional security threats, such as cyber-security.
In addition to foreign acquisition of defense systems and platforms, I am committed to more investments in indigenous defense programs, including research and development, to meet our long-term defense need. These investments will eventually produce multiplied benefits in Taiwan's economy. It is investment in defense and economy at the same time, for the long haul.
  • Relations with the U.S. and international participation 對美關係與國際參與
Taiwan and its people have a special political, security, economic, and cultural bond with the United States because of our shared values and shared interests. But, Taiwan should not take the relationship for granted. I will ensure that Taiwan works together with the U.S. to advance our common interests. Taiwan's international support can be obtained by making ourselves as a reliable partner and by having a proactive diplomatic agenda for peace.
Under my watch, Taiwan will meaningfully participate and contribute, provided that it is not discriminated against, in international projects such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, medical assistance, and joint efforts in economic aide with backup support from our active NGO's. Taiwan has a modern rescue training center in central Taiwan; I would like to expand its operation so that it becomes an international training center. I will also seek to work closely with the U.S. on counter-terrorism, modeling on the Container Security Initiative and Mega Port Initiative and share this experience with any neighboring country.
The former DPP Administration established the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and the NGO Committee in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is to advance our democratic value and meaningful participation in international affairs. Their work will be rejuvenated if we have a chance to return to office.
Making contributions, becoming a reliable partner will be the spirit of the new DPP administration in the pursuit of international participation.
  • Cross-Strait  兩岸關係
I am also committed to a consistent, predictable, and sustainable relationship with China. 
Cross-strait relations must be considered in a long-term context.  Since Taiwan's democratization, we have had three democratically elected presidents and a strong social will forged by numerous democracy movements.  Freedom and democracy are values deeply ingrained in the hearts of the Taiwanese people.  The president elected by the people of Taiwan represents all the people of Taiwan in conducting external affairs.  Therefore the conduct of cross-strait policy must transcend the position of a political party and incorporate different views.  A leader must take into account public consensus, when making decisions. We do have a broad consensus in Taiwan, that is, the maintenance of the status quo. 
I have articulated and reiterated my position of maintaining the status quo in the previous months, as I believe this serves the best interest of all parties concerned. 
Therefore, if elected President, I will push for the peaceful and stable development of cross-strait relations in accordance with the will of the Taiwanese people and the existing ROC constitutional order.
The two sides of the Taiwan Strait should treasure and secure the accumulated outcomes of more than twenty years of negotiations and exchanges.  These accumulated outcomes will serve as the firm basis of my efforts to further the peaceful and stable development of cross-strait relations. 
I will push for legislation of the Cross-Strait Agreement Oversight Bill to establish a comprehensive set of rules for overseeing the cross-strait exchanges and negotiations.  The cross-strait agreements which are currently under negotiation or legislative review will be re-examined and further negotiated according to the new rules. 
Last but most importantly, I will also strengthen our democratic institutions and uphold the right of the people to decide their future free of coercion.  While I advocate for constructive exchanges and dialogues with China, I will ensure the process is democratic and transparent, and that the economic benefits are equitably shared.  
  • Conclusion-New Asian value is being crafted
In conclusion, I would like to say this: Taiwan stands at the juncture of history and culture. When people in many Asian countries are still suffering from authoritarianism, we in Taiwan are immensely proud of our democracy and cherish our hard-earned social and political rights and individual freedom, together with the rise of civil society and freedom of choice.
As Asia faces rising nationalism, irredentism, and threat of military conflict, we intend to engage in proactive peace diplomacy that fosters peace and stability with the spirit of giving and sharing.
When globalization causes economic turbulence, brings unsustainable results in resources, and leaves great disparity and injustice, particularly to the younger generations, we in the DPP are ready to undertake a new model of economic development which aims at building a new economy based on innovation, employment, and distributionas well as to implement a community-based social safety net to compliment the traditional family-based care systems. These will serve as an important basis for innovation, sustainability, distribution and social justice.
In summary, we are crafting a model of new Asian value in Taiwan to serve as an example and inspiration to others. With this new Asian value, we are ready to light up Taiwan, light up Asia.
Thank you very much.

THE Q&A...

Kurt Campbell: I am curious if you can report a little bit on the kinds of discussion and dialogue you and your team has had and will continue to have across the Taiwan Strait Are you satisfied with the discussions? Do you feel like you have a sense of how the Chinese government is viewing Taiwan? What do you see going forward?

Chairperson Tsai: Well, this is a very complex relationship we are faced with. We are not the only player in this relationship. We have China, we have the US., and we also have other countries in the region that all have an interest in a peaceful stable relationship in that part of the world.

So, we have the responsibility to contribute to a peaceful and stable relationship across the Taiwan Strait. I have said this several times and this has been our consistent position: we will have our efforts, we will have our goals, and this will serve the purposes for all the parties involved. A peaceful and stable relationship is the most important thing for Asia, for Taiwan, and for China as well. Asia is going to experience lots of challenges ahead. We need to have a stable relationship to concentrate on the challenges we are facing.

Campbell: In your speech, you had some very good words on how to perfect the democracy in Taiwan. I think the fact is that we all celebrate these open, free elections, and as you pointed out, we're heading into a set of circumstances in which we almost take them for granted. It's also the case not just in Taiwan, but in other countries in Asia, certain aspects of democracy are under enormous pressure. You see it in Thailand and some places in South East Asia. I am curious; you talk about strengthening your democracy. But I think it is undeniable that Taiwan is one of the most deeply divided societies in Asia. How will you recommend going about addressing some of these very profound divisions between the parties and the people in a way that leaves a little more unified Taiwan?

Tsai: The first and most important thing is that the government has to be prepared to be open and transparent in terms of the government policy that concerns the general public there. The public needs to be given an opportunity to participate in this democratic process as well. What is also important in a democratic society is the quality and the amount of NGOs in civil society. If you have enough NGOs, and good quality NGOs, they are very important tools in facilitating the conversation between government and the public.

Therefore, I will come up with a policy to encourage the establishment of these NGOs, so that they are in a position to act as a bridge between government and the public. They will serve as a communication channel too. In terms of social forces, I think that after the Sunflower Movement, there has been a rise of third forces in Taiwan. I tend to think that this is a good development, in the sense that the public awareness has been increased as a result and people want to participate in the decision making process for policies that affect their livelihoods and futures as well. I am of the expectation that the people in Taiwan nowadays are more ready.

Campbell: So this is your second time running for president. What did you take from your last campaign? What would you do differently; what will you do differently? And how has the political process changed just in the last few years?

Tsai: The environment today is very different from that in 2012, but despite the differences, I tend to think that we had a pretty decent campaign in 2011 and 2012. Primarily, this was because we ran a campaign with limited resources. We had a large number of people helping us in terms of making small donations and they came up and helped in whatever way they could.

I thought it was a pretty exciting campaign we had last time. But this time, of course, the situation is very different this time. We have had a longer period of time to get ourselves prepared and have better communication with our friends here and in other places so that our intentions will not be distorted or misunderstood. Therefore, I think in general terms, our communication with our friends, both outside and within the general public is much better. As a result, we are building the sort of trust we need when we run a government. So I think that this time, we stand a better chance to win.

Campbell: I am curious about your views on the role of gender in your politics and more generally. Sometimes woman candidates speak about their gender and particularly what it brings to the race. Sometimes they don't. I have reviewed your past discussions and speeches and you don't discuss it very much. A little bit. You talk about your policies, views etc. Tell me what you think it means to be a woman running for the president of Taiwan.

Tsai: Well, gender used to be a barrier of some sort for woman to overcome when they want to be in politics. But in today in Taiwan, the situation is somewhat different for a woman that wants to participate in the elections and get elected. I think in general terms, there is a preference for women candidates these days. Bot to the level of president, but in levels below that. If you have a woman candidate, especially one that is younger and better educated, you get an overwhelming preference from the voters.

But this time, the Taiwanese public has to face this test: whether they can accept a woman leader as president of this country. Of course, there are some people in Taiwan that are still rather traditional and they have some hesitation in considering a woman president. But among the younger generation, I think they are generally excited about the idea of having a woman leader. They think it is rather trendy. So there is a balance there. So if you ask me whether gender is advantageous or disadvantageous to my candidacy, I think it is okay. But for the Taiwanese people, they are faced with a serious test next year; this is whether we are advanced and civilized enough to accept a woman leader.

Campbell: You have spoken specifically about your approach to cross-strait relations and I'm sure we will have more questions and discussions about this later. I wonder whether you can say a few words about other countries. You can talk about China and the U.S., but Taiwan has relationships elsewhere as well. Which relationships are you looking to propose to build stronger dynamics or engagements with, either trade or political if you are elected, beyond the cross-strait relationship.

Tsai: I think the countries in Asia are all priorities. (Campbell: Are there any specific countries because Asia is quite big.) There is a lot of opportunity. We would like to explore these opportunities. Therefore, I would say that Japan is a country that has had a long-time relationship with us. The bilateral trade and flow of personal exchanges are increasing because we have a convenient way to travel between our two countries.

I am naming specific countries, but I'm running the risk of offending others.

The other group of countries we want to have a closer relationship with is ASEAN. This is because we want to have more trade with them and we also want to have new investment opportunities to explore there. The fact that we have lots of immigrants from South East Asia I think is our asset. This is because they will eventually help us establish a connection with ASEAN. I see lots of opportunities there and we look forward to exploring those opportunities as much as possible.

Campbell: Turning to the South China Sea. You have seen our Secretary of Defense was recently in Singapore for the Shangri-la Conference. He was quite specific about the American approach, which is the peaceful resolution of disputes in the area. Clearly, we are heading into a period where there is likely to be greater tension in the South China Sea. What is Taiwan's view on this? What is your goal?

Tsai: Perhaps I should remind you that are not Taiwan yet, we are still the opposition party.

But as far as our position is concerned, we should get ourselves prepared to work with all the parties involved that have interests in that part of the world. We are ready to talk to anybody and explore the possibilities. Most importantly, we will follow international law and UNCLOs. It is also important to make sure that the freedom of navigation will not be affected as a result of the conflicts amongst different countries in the region. I think that the best way to resolve conflicts of this kind is diplomacy and peacefully.

Campbell: You focus a lot in your speech on the concept of the status quo. There is probably no other relationship in the world where this concept of the status quo is so important. Do you believe in the current environment that the U.S., China, and Taiwan have roughly the same definition of what comprises the status quo

Tsai: I'm sure that China, the U.S., and us [the DPP] have different interpretations of that term. But I'm pretty sure that despite our differences in the interpretation of that term, we should all agree that maintaining a peaceful and stable relationship across the Taiwan Strait serves the interests of everybody. And whatever the interpretation of that term, this should be a part of that interpretation.

Campbell: You laid out a pretty ambitious domestic agenda as well. I think sometimes Americans focus on just one dimension of the relationship. You talk about transitioning, really transforming Taiwan, more towards an innovation society. I would be curious if you could just quickly lay out what do you think in terms of education and investment, what are the key features of a successive innovation-based economy.

Tsai: The business culture has to change. People think that failure is a bad thing. But I think that failure is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a good thing when you are trying to build a new company, a new industry, where you will inevitably be facing risks. Failure is a necessary thing to happen.

But in Asian countries, they don't take failure well. They think it is something they don't like and try to avoid. If they fail, they feel frustrated and think that it is something not positive. But this is something that is in the Asian culture. If you go to Silicon Valley and talk to the people there, they think that failure is a good thing. So the business culture needs to change.

The second thing is you need to change the infrastructure, particularly the legal infrastructure, because we have been a country that has been manufacturing industrial products for a long time - five or six decades. So our legal infrastructure was built in a time we were building a lot of industrial products. In an innovation-based economy, it is completely different and we will need to change the legal infrastructure to suit the needs of an innovation-based economy. This is a massive exercise and that is to have a comprehensive assessment of the legal infrastructure and to rebuilt something that suits an innovation-based economy.

Campbell: In any line of work, you will have people you look up to. When I was a diplomat, I had people I looked up to historically or in more recent times. As you look in your own political backyard, or around the world, give me a couple of examples of leaders that you say you really admire as a person and that you really like what they bring to the table.

Tsai: Well, many people will expect me to answer that question with Mrs. Thatcher. But I was reminded by many of our supporters that perhaps she is not the leader for us because she was a conservative leader and we are a democratic party. So I have to look for another one. So someone suggested Merkel, and yes, I like her a lot. She can be a model but we are also in a situation that is very different from Germany. As to whether she is a model I can follow, I should say yes. But there are others that are also not necessarily leaders, but women politicians I like a lot and have learned a lot from.

I will like to name this lady that is not considered as a political leader. But her professionalism in dealing with difficult issues have delighted me a lot, particularly in the 1980s. I am talking about Barshefsky. I never ask to take a pictures with anybody, but she just visited Taipei and I specifically asked for a picture from her. So I learned a lot from her.

There is another lady though, who you may know already. That is our Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chu. She has governed so well that she was earned everybody's respect in Taiwan. So I learned a lot from her too.

Campbell: You talk about the characteristics of political leaders. As you look across the Strait, we've had a couple of years to observe Xi Jinping. What do you see in him as a leader? Do you see him as a continuity or a different kind of Chinese leader. How do you interpret him and what do you see in terms of what he brings to China's present and future?

Tsai: I have to answer this question very carefully. Let me say this: I like the idea of this anti-corruption campaign. I admire his courage to do all this. To many observers, he seems to be rather rough and not that prepared to exercise flexibility. But as far as Taiwan is concerned, I think he is a Chinese leader that probably knows Taiwan better because of his experience as governor of Fujian Province. I hope he has a better understanding of the situation in Taiwan and also his understanding of Taiwan as a democracy. And he is in a position to exercise more flexibility.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Carlos said...

Thanks for posting that; I thought it was quite good. She could’ve been more direct on China’s greater role in determining the tone of cross-strait relations though.

As an American I have a lot of reservations about the TPP. It looks like it’s going to be one of those agreements written by lobbyists and rubber-stamped by the politicians in their thrall, and we’ll never know because of the lack of transparency. But for the sake of international relations I would want Taiwan to join it.

Racto-pork is probably the least of its side-effects but will get a lot of publicility; I say let it be sold, with proper labeling to allow consumers a choice.

Anonymous said...

Now I hate to say I told you so, but I do recall commenting months ago that increasing disdain for China in Washington could lead to a switch in allegiance from the KMT to the DPP on this side of the Pacific!

Really though, I didn't think in my wildest dreams that Tsai would be THIS well received in DC. Everything really seems to be falling into place lately for the DPP. Hopefully they don't get too complacent.

les said...

It was good to see those hostile PRC reporters handled the way they were. Do independence-minded Taiwanese reporters get to question PRC leaders like that? I don't think I recall that happening.

d said...

Tsai comes across as very clever and well spoken. Very impressive. I wish the Q&A could have gone on - heck, I wish there were more people like her running for office stateside.

Anonymous said...

When people in many Asian countries are still suffering from authoritarianism, we in Taiwan are immensely proud of our democracy and cherish our hard-earned social and political rights and individual freedom, together with the rise of civil society and freedom of choice.

~ very well said and exactly why the KMTards are history.

柯邁宇 said...

CSIS should be embarrassed for the way it handled the public Q & A at that event. They took six audience questions, and three were from PRC state-controlled media. Talk about over-indexed. Seriously, CSIS needs a new PR person if they're going to play in the big leagues, because that was really amateur hour.