Remarks by Chair Su Tseng-chang at the DPP's 26th Anniversary Reception for Foreign Diplomats & Representatives

The 26th DPP Anniversary Reception for Foreign Diplomats & Representatives

Remarks by DPP Chair Su Tseng-chang

September 27, 2012

Esteemed ambassadors and representatives, members of the diplomatic community, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon! I would like to welcome everyone to the DPP’s 26th Anniversary celebration.  This is an annual event for the DPP, and this is also the first time since assuming the DPP chairmanship, that I have the pleasure to get together with the diplomatic community and celebrate the DPP’s birthday!

26 years ago, on the 28th of September, as one of the 18 founding members of the DPP, forming a party during a period under Martial Law and authoritarianism, meant facing capture and arrest. Along with many of my DPP and opposition senior fellows, we fought through dictatorship and one-party authoritarian rule. We forced the KMT to lift Martial Law; to open up party competition; to enable media freedom; step by step to carry out legislative reform and presidential elections.

We were able to accomplish the very first transfer of power between political parties in 2000, and we were able to incorporate Taiwan into the list of democracies around the world. This achievement is the result of the collective efforts made by DPP members and the 23 million people of Taiwan.

I am honored that 26 years ago, from the moment the DPP was founded until the present, to have never been absent from this sacred part of democratic history, especially now with the great responsibility as party chair. Everyone here understands or has witnessed this critical phase of Taiwan’s democratic development.

In 26 years, as a major driving force in Taiwan’s democratic advancement, the DPP’s persistence in democracy, freedom and human rights, concern for regional security and stability, as well as the aspiration to safeguard long-lasting peace across the Taiwan Strait, has never changed.

With governing experience, we learned that we need to be humble in the face of the people, and exert every effort to obtain achievements. In opposition, we learned to be more responsible in conducting checks and balances and to make all the necessary preparations for a return to government.

Taiwan is a country that is both pluralistic and full of vitality. My hometown of Pintung County borders Taiwan’s most southern tip, and the place where I first started my political career. Later, I had the opportunity to serve in Taipei County, one of the most populous counties in Taiwan. My experience of 30 years, gathered from the tip to the head of Taiwan, from being a local representative to becoming premier, gave me great understanding of the grass-roots voice in the Taiwanese people.What the Taiwanese people wish to see is a government that can walk the talk, and that doesn’t shift responsibility, and that is capable of governing.

In this present period where the government’s policy is ineffective, and has not been able to boost the economy, people’s lives have become harder. The DPP, as a responsible opposition party, has taken the initiative to propose a Compassionate Economic Package (CEP) to rejuvenate the economy, including concrete measures to revitalize the small-and-medium enterprises, empower local finance, enhance family support, and help young job-seekers, in the hopes to push the government to get the economy back on track.

On the other hand, the trend of globalization is bringing international opportunities, but at the same time, Taiwan must shoulder the price of companies moving overseas and creating unemployment, especially now when the Taiwanese market is over-relying on China, and we are seeing side effects as a result. Trade is the livelihood for the island nation of Taiwan, and we must not be left out of globalization.

The DPP’s trade policy will emphasize on bettering investment opportunities, strengthening government efficiency, increasing policy transparency, promoting industrial transformation and building more incentives for foreign direct investment.

In these past years, there have been significant changes to the global political and economic order, including the Arab Spring movement, the European debt crisis and transformations in the regional security of Asia Pacific.

The tense situations from the Korean Peninsula, to the Diaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea and lastly to the South China Sea, have reinforced the U.S. to pivot its foreign policy towards Asia, which has also collided with the hegemonic rise of China.

The United States, South Korea and Japan will be facing the sensitive period of domestic elections, China will also be conducting a leadership change, and Taiwan is facing public backlash as a result of poor governance -- all complex domestic political circumstances that contribute to more uncertainties in regional security.

Being a responsible political party, the DPP has called on the use of peaceful diplomacy to calmly resolve this regional crisis. Because we believe that peace cannot be earned without reconciliation, it needs every country to put aside differences and seek diplomatic solutions.

Democracy is not something that is achieved immediately, and Taiwan’s democratic achievement can very well become a role model for undemocratic countries, including China.

In July of last year, I visited Northern Europe with my family. I placed my feet on the borderline of Norway and Sweden, where there was no war, conflict or misfires, or soldiers or police, but only kind custom officials and souvenir shops. This is the vision of peace that the DPP pictures in cross-strait relations and regional stability.

Ladies and gentlemen, 26 years ago, the DPP’s founding spirit was honesty, diligence and love for our land!

26 years later, besides holding firmly to these values, the DPP also pledges to internalize peace, freedom, democracy and the universal values of human rights into every corner of Taiwan, and at the same time, using public diplomacy and smart power to expand Taiwan’s contributions to the world.

This is the birthday wish for the DPP turning 26 years-old. We are proud of being Taiwanese. And we are also proud of being a citizen of the world. I hope that you can continue giving advice and support to the DPP.

Now, I would like to ask my wife to join me on the stage to present a toast.

Happy Birthday DPP!  To everyone’s good health and fortune, CHEERS!

Thank You!