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Q1. Will Glasgow (The Australian):

Vice President Lai, you spoke about keeping the door open to dialogue. President Tsai, when she was President-elect Tsai, also wanted to maintain dialogue with China. But that's not been possible these last eight years for various complicated reasons. What would you do differently? What might you be able to do, so that dialogue could actually happen if you're elected for four years?


A1. 賴清德:

Dialogue and exchange are beneficial for reducing risks in cross-strait relations. I have always advocated for replacing containment with exchange, and confrontation with dialogue, to enhance mutual peace and prosperity. During President Tsai's term, she actually extended a lot of goodwill towards China. For example, in her inaugural speech during her first term, she mentioned that her goodwill and promises towards China would remain unchanged during her leadership, and that she would not succumb to pressure nor revert to the old path of confrontation. In her second term, she publicly stated that based on the principles of peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue, she would be willing to engage in exchange and cooperation with China.


My position remains unchanged. As long as there is equality and dignity, I am willing to cooperate with China under the goal of enhancing the welfare of the people. However, during President Tsai's eight-year term, despite her extending much goodwill, China did not respond positively. I hope that if I am elected President, China will understand that peaceful development is a responsibility shared by both sides. Taiwan will not change its friendly stance, our hope for cooperation, and our aspiration for peaceful prosperity across the Strait. I also hope that China will realize the changes in the international situation and return to the international order, while playing an important role in maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.


Q2. Helen Davidson (The Guardian)

Thank you for holding this press conference today. The question I wanted to ask is directed at the vice-presidential candidate, Hsiao Bi-khim. You've spoken a lot about your experience working in the U.S. as Taiwan's representative, your close ties there, and your international diplomatic experience. The DPP, as we've just heard, also holds out hope of renewing dialogue with China across the Strait. But the CCP is particularly hostile toward both of you; in particular, they've sanctioned you several times. And I'm interested in how you weigh up those two things. Does this mean that in the event of a DPP victory, a dialogue with China becomes more difficult, but that is balanced out by the close ties with the U.S.? Can you talk us through how you balance those two elements?


A2. 蕭美琴:

Thank you very much for this question. During my time working in Washington D.C., I established close cooperation and partnerships with our friends in the United States. We addressed many issues of mutual interest between Taiwan and the U.S., ranging from regional peace and stability to economic prosperity, as well as international participation and cooperation. There were also various exchanges in the cultural sphere between the people of both sides. A lot of work in these areas is continuously ongoing.


In the process of establishing cooperative partnerships with American friends, I once proposed the concept of "Warrior-Cat Diplomacy," which entails maintaining an optimal balance among various interests, starting from Taiwan's interests and perspective. We have also built shared interests and values with the U.S. These common values include a commitment to democracy and freedom, as well as a mutual interest in regional peace, stability, and prosperity. Based on these shared values, we have been very cautious in balancing relations with both major political parties in the U.S.—the Democrats and Republicans. Although they have different ideologies and perspectives on many issues, when it comes to issues concerning Taiwan, they show bipartisan support and care about the interests and values we share.


At the same time, we are also balancing the pull of many different international forces under the objective of maintaining the status quo, striving to find the optimal balance point. As the journalist just mentioned, in terms of cross-strait relations, Taiwan is a diverse society with many different viewpoints on the political system and even the future of cross-strait relations. However, maintaining the status quo has already become an expectation of the international community for us, and it's a responsibility that both sides of the Strait need to share towards the international community and regional stability. We will continue the very responsible path of President Tsai Ing-wen, which has already gained international trust and support, to continually develop our foreign relations. This also continues the balance of international concerns that I maintained during my time working in Washington D.C., ensuring the stability of the Taiwan Strait and the ongoing stability of Taiwan's foreign relations.


Q3. Jérémy André (Le Pointe):It's a question for Vice President Lai: What would be your first message to European leaders who think that Taiwan's future, Taiwan's fate, is none of their concern?


A3. 賴清德:

Thank you for your question. Although Taiwan and Europe may be geographically distant, we share common values of democracy, freedom, and human rights, which holds great potential for future cooperation. Therefore, I will convey to European leaders that Taiwan is very eager to deepen progressive values and strengthen economic and trade exchanges with various European countries. At the same time, we are also ready to jointly face international issues such as climate change.


We are also very much looking forward to working together with Europe on peace in the Indo-Pacific region. In fact, the relationship between Taiwan and Europe has been continuously strengthening over the past few years. For instance, we have seen many political leaders and key societal figures from various European countries visit Taiwan for exchanges. Taiwan has also set up more offices in many European countries and cities. Additionally, Europe has been the largest source of foreign investment in Taiwan in recent years, significantly aiding Taiwan's energy transformation and economic upgrading, whether it's through energy companies or technology firms.


Europe's technology is globally leading, and I am very much looking forward to cooperating with European countries in responding to climate change in the future. I hope that Taiwan can work together with European nations to create a win-win situation through the transition to net-zero emissions, allowing Taiwan's economy to develop further.


Additionally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank many European countries for publicly expressing their concern for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, opposing authoritarian states that use force to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. They also recognize that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are essential elements for global security and prosperity. These appeals from European countries are of great help to Taiwan's security and peace in the Indo-Pacific. As President leading the country in the future, I would continue to strengthen cooperation and exchanges with European countries in these aspects and hope that European nations will also strengthen their relations with Taiwan.


Q4. 立山芽以子(TBS東京放送):

I'd like to ask about domestic issues. Young people in Taiwan are dissatisfied with the DPP's policies on housing and employment, and their support is shifting from the DPP to other political parties. How do you respond to these young people's complaints about life, and how do you plan to address them?


A4. 賴清德:

Thank you for your question. Indeed, young people in Taiwan have expressed their dissatisfaction with housing prices and issues related to employment and education in recent years, which is something the government needs to take seriously. Like the rest of the world, Taiwan has been impacted by COVID-19. However, with the support of our citizens for the government's pandemic response, we have faced relatively less impact compared to other countries, and our overall economy has been progressing. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that there are significant dissatisfactions among young people regarding housing, education, and employment. The government is very attentive to these issues. President Tsai Ing-wen has invested more in social issues than any president in history, and I will continue to strengthen the areas where we have not done enough.


In this election, I have proposed the National Project of Hope. My goal is to establish a just and sustainable Taiwan by expanding social investments. This includes initiatives like "Raising Children Together 2.0" for ages zero to six, and "Long-term Care 3.0", aimed at alleviating the burdens of young sandwich-generation families. This approach also ensures that women don't have to leave the workforce just because they need to take care of young children or elderly parents. Additionally, I plan to promote a multi-billion-dollar fund for young people to fulfill their dreams overseas, encouraging them to step out into the international community to broaden their horizons and gain new experiences.


Secondly, I will also promote educational equality. Starting this year, all junior high and high schools in Taiwan will be tuition-free. Students attending private universities can receive an annual government subsidy of 35,000 NTD. For families facing financial difficulties, meaning those with an annual income of less than 700,000 NTD, their children, whether attending public or private schools, can receive an annual government subsidy of 20,000 NTD. For families with annual incomes between 700,000 and 900,000 NTD, the government will provide a subsidy of 15,000 NTD per child per year, regardless of whether they attend public or private schools.


I have also proposed three major policies for housing justice. The first is the implementation of a "Vacant Housing Tax 2.0" to cover all properties nationwide, aimed at preventing real estate speculation and excessive inflation of housing prices, thereby normalizing them. The second policy is promoting the "Youth Housing Security Plan." This initiative increases the current mortgage loan limit from 8 million to 10 million NTD, and the interest subsidy will be raised from 0.125% to 0.375%. The third policy involves promoting social housing. During President Tsai’s tenure, 200,000 social housing units were created. I hope to plan for an additional 300,000 units over the next eight years, aiming to address housing issues for young people.


In other words, the current government under President Tsai Ing-wen, has initiated social investments to address the issues of education and employment for young people. I will further strengthen and promote these initiatives, standing with the youth. My goal is to enable them to see hope in this country, to pursue their dreams, and to garner the support of the young generation for Taiwan. This will ultimately lead to a better nation.


Q5. Kathleen Calderwood (ABC News):

My question is for vice-presidential candidate Hsiao. I am Kathleen Calderwood from the ABC in Australia. Like Taiwan, Australia has been forging closer ties with the U.S., particularly through the AUKUS agreement. If elected, what support would your government expect from Australia in the event of military conflict with China? And in the view of your time in Washington, have you ever received assurances that close U.S. allies like Australia would join the defense of Taiwan?


A5. 蕭美琴:

During my time in Washington D.C., I also had the opportunity to occasionally interact and discuss with visitors from Australia. Certainly, our relations with both the United States and Australia share some common values and interests, including our commitment to democracy, freedom, and the maintenance of peace and stability. Of course, Australia is different from the U.S. in that the U.S. has the Taiwan Relations Act as a robust foundation for our bilateral relations. With Australia, there is still much room for development in our relationship.


In the development of our relationship with the United States, there are some issues that we also hope to further deepen with Australia. This includes the already established Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF). Besides Taiwan and the United States, Australia, and Japan have become official partners in this framework, creating a platform that allows Taiwan to meaningfully participate and contribute to the international community.

我們跟美國的關係的發展的過程當中,有一些議題同時也是我們對澳大利亞所希望進一步去深化的,包含我們已經建構的 GCTF (全球合作交流架構、Global Cooperation and Training Framework),除了台灣跟美國之外,澳大利亞跟日本已經成為正式的夥伴,來搭建一個可以讓台灣有意義的參與的跟貢獻國際社會的平台。 

One of the most important objectives in the development of our foreign relations is to ensure regional stability. I believe that Australia, like us, advocates for maintaining a rules-based international order to ensure stability in the Indo-Pacific region. This is our primary goal. To achieve this goal, Taiwan believes that peace must be supported by strength. Therefore, Taiwan hopes to enhance our capabilities, including our economic and trade strength, our national defense, and the scope of our cooperation with international friends from various countries. 


In these areas, of course, there is room for us to continue deepening our relationship with Australia. This includes our common challenges with disinformation and the political coercion exerted by authoritarian states using economic and trade leverage. I believe everyone is aware that, apart from Taiwan facing various forms of economic coercion from China, using agricultural products and trade relationships as tools, Australia has also faced similar issues where products like wine and beef have been used as leverage. Therefore, we need to deepen our cooperation to build a framework that can reduce the possibility of such economic coercion or to defend against it, through enhanced exchanges and interactions with our democratic partners.


Therefore, we hope to deepen our relationship with Australia and other like-minded countries—I mention Australia specifically because the recent question was about Australia. But just like with other countries, Europe, and Japan, we believe we should deepen our trade and partnership relationships. The areas of cooperation, in addition to what Vice President Lai, our presidential candidate, mentioned, include climate change, energy transition, and energy security, as well as global efforts to prevent and control large-scale infectious diseases. We have all just experienced the century's biggest pandemic, COVID-19, and we need to collaborate to address these transnational issues. At the same time, areas like technological development are also fields where we look forward to continuing our cooperation.

所以我們期望能夠深化跟澳大利亞等理念相近國——我今天講澳大利亞,是因為剛剛的提問針對澳大利亞——但我跟其他的國家、對歐洲、對日本一樣,我們都認為應該要深化貿易跟夥伴關係。合作的領域,除了剛剛賴副總統我們的總統候選人所提到的,例如說氣候變遷、能源轉型以及能源的安全,還有對於全球的傳染性大規模的防治,我們都一樣剛歷經百年的大疫 COVID-19,我們需要共同合作來處理這些跨國性的問題;同時科技的發展等等,都是我們期待可以繼續合作的領域。 

Ultimately, the goal is, as I just mentioned, for Taiwan to strengthen our capabilities to ensure a balance across the Strait and our peace and stability. We also hope that our international partners will share our concern for the stability of our region. Of course, we have also noted that U.S. President Biden and the Australian Prime Minister, during their summit, particularly emphasized that peace and stability in cross-strait relations are indispensable to global prosperity. We have noticed such statements and their repetition in discussions among many international partners. Therefore, we believe that peace in the Taiwan Strait is a common interest for the global community. We will take responsibility and work together with everyone to maintain regional stability. Thank you.


Q6. 賴佳良(朝日電視台,TV Asahi Corporation):

Good morning, I have a question for Vice President Lai. Yesterday and today, the Chinese People's Liberation Army conducted live-fire drills in the East China Sea. Do you think this is an intervention in Taiwan's elections? What do you think is the purpose of this intervention? Also, regarding the domestic legislative elections, you have always emphasized the need for a parliamentary majority. I would like to ask, if you don't achieve a majority, what impact would that have on your governance or political situation after you are elected President?


And the other question is for Ambassador Hsiao. After you win election, how do you think you will utilize your strengths in the role of Vice President to enhance Taiwan-U.S. relations and where do you see this relationship heading?


A6. 賴清德:

China intervenes in every Taiwanese election, but this time it is the most severe. They have employed a full spectrum of tactics including propaganda, military intimidation, economic means, cognitive warfare, disinformation, threats, and inducements. In this election, China is clearly using the theme of 'war and peace' to try to influence the outcome and establish a pro-China regime. The people of Taiwan are aware of this attempt by China and will use their sacred votes to exercise the power of democracy and prevent China's interference. If China's intervention succeeds, and they manage to dictate or support who gets elected, then the very essence of Taiwan's democracy would be lost. Taiwan would no longer be electing a President, but rather a Chief Executive, just like in Hong Kong.


Secondly, I have previously served as a legislator for four terms and was also the chief of our party's caucus in the legislature. I know firsthand the challenges of pushing national policies when the ruling party is in the minority. Since the direct presidential elections began in Taiwan, there have been four presidents: Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian, Ma Ying-jeou, and now Tsai Ing-wen. Out of these four, only during the first political party transition, which was Chen Shui-bian's eight years in office, did the ruling party not have a majority. During that time, I was the chief of the legislative caucus, and pushing national policies was extremely challenging.


Let me give you an example. At the time, Taiwan had finally obtained the agreement of President George W. Bush to proceed with military purchases from the United States. There was a list of about twenty items of weaponry, and among them, I remember three were particularly important: four Kidd-class destroyers, eight submarines, and twelve P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft. However, in the KMT-led parliament, the legislative committee blocked the discussion of this military procurement 69 times in total, preventing it from being put on the agenda. In the end, this military procurement came to nothing.


This example shows that if a situation where the ruling party is in the minority occurs again, Taiwan will face significant difficulties in addressing China's challenges, global digital and net-zero transitions, and solving many major domestic issues. As the chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party and the presidential candidate, I have no other choice but to give my all. It's not just about winning the presidential and vice-presidential election with a high vote count; it's crucial for the legislature to have a majority. I will clearly report to the national public the impact and consequences on Taiwan if the legislature does not secure a majority, and I will seek their understanding and support.


The third point is about Bi-khim and me. We have known each other for twenty to thirty years, both hailing from Tainan. We have previously worked together in the Legislative Yuan, so we have a very good understanding of each other. Among the three pairs of candidates, Bi-khim and I have a deep affection for Taiwan and a strong sense of mission. Also, in the fields of domestic and foreign affairs, we are the candidates who have received the most comprehensive training and have been tested in various ways. If we lead the country, Taiwan can continue to move forward steadily without any delays. Furthermore, if the two of us lead the country, our direction for the nation will be 'Trust in Taiwan, Step into the World, and Move Towards the Future.' We will definitely not revert to the One-China Principle or lock ourselves into the old path of being constrained by China.


Bi-khim is extremely capable; she has served four terms as a legislator, which many people in Taiwan may not be aware of. She has been a legislator for four terms, served as an advisor to the National Security Council, and has also been the ambassador to the United States. In the future, I will fully leverage Bi-khim's expertise to assist me in advancing national policies. Next, we will have Bi-khim respond.


A6. 蕭美琴:

Thank you for your question. Regarding the question about the role of the Vice President, in the Constitution of the Republic of China, the Vice President is positioned as the deputy head of state. Therefore, all tasks of the Vice President are primarily based on the duties authorized by the President. During the process of Vice President Lai inviting me to join him as a running mate and our discussions, Vice President Lai specifically mentioned that he wants to leverage not only my early experience in grassroots management and election campaigning, but also the expertise I have accumulated in international diplomatic affairs.


I believe that the trust on the international stage, including the trust many international friends have in President Tsai, is the result of a long-term accumulation. Accumulating such trust is not easy, and we will carry this same trust and these accumulated experiences into our future work, including managing our foreign relations. Vice President Lai and I share a strong mission towards Taiwan's democracy and our peace. We both cherish the hard-won democracy and freedom of Taiwan. This is also the commitment and the goal that our DPP has steadfastly pursued and struggled for over decades.


But of course, Taiwan is now facing a more complex international environment. We are confronted with many changes on the global stage, including challenges in global geopolitics and numerous global and transnational issues. We are also facing a transformation of the global economic structure. Therefore, ensuring that Taiwan continues to play a key role in the global economy and supply chain, and maintaining Taiwan's strong economic vitality and competitiveness, I believe, is a common goal we will work towards in the future. Strengthening Taiwan's economic power and integrating with the international community is essential. I am confident that with my past experiences and the deep partnerships I have established in Washington D.C., I will continue to assist our President Lai in strengthening Taiwan's capabilities and forging more international friendships. Thank you.


Q7. Richard Walker(DW):

Richard Walker from DW in Berlin, I would just like to ask you, Vice President Lai, about the role of deterrence in cross-strait relations. And it's placed alongside other aspects, such as the need for dialogue, de-escalation, and so on. We've been speaking to the Kuomintang this week; we spoke to the last Kuomintang president, Ma Ying-jeou, yesterday and asked him this question. And he said that deterrence, for him, appears to be secondary to the importance of dialogue and de-escalation. And I'm just going to quote here from what he said, and I would like to hear your response. He said, "No matter how much you defend yourself, you can never fight a war with the mainland—you can never win. They're too large, much stronger than us. So we should use non-military means to reduce the tension." Could you respond to that? Do you agree with former President Ma Ying-jeou that dialogue and de-escalation are more important than deterrence? Thank you.



Thank you for your question. The content of Ma Ying-jeou's response to you is not much different from the message he has conveyed in society in the past. Bi-khim and I will continue to follow the policies of President Tsai Ing-wen, which have been highly affirmed internationally, with a dual approach. As I mentioned earlier, peace is priceless, and there are no winners in war; peace is the only option. Therefore, as long as there is equality and dignity, Taiwan's door is always open. We are willing to engage in dialogue and cooperation with China to promote the welfare of the people on both sides of the Strait and thereby stabilize peace in the Taiwan Strait.


We have ideals about peace, but we cannot be delusional. Accepting China's One-China Principle is not real peace. Peace without sovereignty, as in Hong Kong, is a false peace. Therefore, our stance is to build a power of deterrence. This includes strengthening our national defense capabilities, whether in terms of military procurement or bolstering our defense autonomy. Over the past seven to eight years under President Tsai Ing-wen's leadership, we have increased our defense budget. We have also reinstated mandatory military service to one year and engaged in various exchanges and cooperation with the United States and internationally, to enhance Taiwan's ability to protect our nation and to convey to the international community Taiwan's determination to defend our country.


Secondly, we are continuously strengthening our economic power, especially in the face of geopolitical changes and the restructuring of global supply chains. Taiwan needs to expand our industrial advantages and secure our position in the supply chain. This is to ensure that Taiwan's economy not only develops but also possesses resilience and becomes more secure.


The third point is to strengthen cooperation with the international community. As Bi-khim just mentioned, we are very willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with the democratic camp to exert a deterrent power. This means that our pursuit of peace relies on strength, not on the goodwill of aggressors, which is unreliable. Past examples in Tibet, Xinjiang, or present-day Hong Kong demonstrate this. Former President Ma Ying-jeou, during his eight-year tenure, accepted the 1992 Consensus and relegated national defense and security to a secondary position, consequently neglecting the strength of our national security.


When the DPP first came to power, former President Ma Ying-jeou, who was then the chairman of the KMT, led the opposition to Taiwan's arms procurement case. From these various instances, it is evident that the direction we – Bi-khim and I – advocate for the nation is different from that advocated by the opposition party, the KMT. Thank you.


Q8. Nicholas Kristof(New York Times):

Thank you very much. And thanks for meeting us. Nicholas Kristof from the New York Times. Vice President Lai, you emphasize the importance of continuing the status quo and preserving peace and stability in the region. I guess I wonder how sustainable you see that status quo as being. And doesn't that status quo, in turn, have to adapt to behaviors that China takes? And aren't elements of that status quo—from the national anthem to the Constitution to geographic claims—don't they leave many people in Taiwan uncomfortable in ways that . . . So I guess I wonder, as president, how you navigate the pressure internationally on Taiwan not to leave the status quo, with the fact that elements of that status quo have to respond and adapt over time.



Thank you for your valuable question. Maintaining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait aligns with the common interests of Taiwan, China, and the international community. The peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait is not merely an issue between Taiwan and China; it has now become an issue of international concern.


Therefore, in last year's G7 Summit, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida particularly emphasized that Taiwan's security issue is a global issue, and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are essential elements for global security and the prosperity and development of the world. Taiwan, positioned on the first island chain in the Indo-Pacific, faces threats from China. Of course, it is our inescapable responsibility to fulfill our duties, and I am committed to maintaining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.


Taiwan's approaches to maintaining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait are as follows: First, as I have just reported, I will implement the Four Pillars of Peace plan that I proposed. Second, we will continue President Tsai Ing-wen's steady policies in diplomacy, national defense, and cross-strait relations. Third, we have no plans to declare independence because Taiwan is already a sovereign and independent nation. The Republic of China (Taiwan) is already a sovereign, independent country, so there is no need for a declaration of independence.


In addition to Taiwan's responsibility to maintain the status quo, I am also very pleased and grateful for the international community's continued attention to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. If the international community's focus persists, I believe it will be conducive to maintaining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.


China also has a responsibility, as I mentioned in my opening remarks. We hope that China can return to the track of international order and fulfill its responsibilities, as this is necessary to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. The international situation is changing, including if I am re-elected as president. This would demonstrate that the direction supported by the will of the people of Taiwan is to trust in Taiwan and continue engaging with the world. This provides China with an opportunity to review its policy towards Taiwan. If the opposition party is elected, especially under the circumstances of China's threats and interference in the election, it is unlikely that China will change its current policy towards Taiwan or in the Indo-Pacific region. Therefore, my election would help create a new scenario in the Indo-Pacific, allowing Taiwan, China, and the international community to stabilize the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and foster peaceful development in the Indo-Pacific region.

(Source:DPP Mission in USA)



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