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As Taiwan heads to the polls on January 13, termed-out President Tsai Ing-wen delivered her final New Year’s speech, reflecting on her eight-year tenure.
Tsai noted that her administration helped grow Taiwan’s global stature and that its citizens have “participated in changing the world.” Specifically, Tsai mentioned the “Taiwan Can Help” campaign, which has given aid to allies and China alike. She also asserted that Taiwan’s semiconductor and high-tech industries have made the island nation indispensable to global supply chains. Tsai mentioned that the world’s desire to “diversify and de-risk” [from China] has further solidified Taiwan’s importance to the global economy. Taiwan’s brand has grown through its “solid credibility,” “win[ning] the trust of the international community and deepen[ing] cooperation with [its] democratic partners,” according to Tsai.
On China, Tsai stated that Taiwan has “maintained the status quo,” possibly in direct response to incessant CCP propaganda that Taiwan is warmongering. Tsai further remarked that Taiwan “neither provoke[s] nor yield[s].”
Tsai remained open to better relations with China, but on terms that respect Taiwan. Tsai remained optimistic that as Taiwan continues to demonstrate value to the world, “…the two sides of the Taiwan Strait can take on shared responsibilities.” She also held out hope that Taiwan and China “will soon resume healthy and orderly exchanges.” Tsai wishes that Taiwan-China relations will be governed by “peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue, to jointly seek a long-term, stable way forward for our peaceful coexistence.” Tsai also stated that Taiwan has been able to “break free of the tendency to engage with China before engaging with the world, a tendency followed by the previous administration.”
But Tsai also discussed continued vigilance against China should the CCP not welcome her desire for better relations. She was quick to note that Taiwan is no pushover when it comes to China, as Taiwan has “shown our determination and strengthened our national defense.” She emphasized Taiwan’s completion of 27 Brave Eagle jet trainers, its launch of its first indigenous submarine, the Narwhal, its defense strategy review, its weapons and civil defense modernization, and its improved military training. Tsai also mentioned that Taiwan’s total defense budget for this year, at NT$600.7 billion [$19.3 billion USD], will be an all-time high for the country.
Tsai also touted Taiwan’s economic progress over the last eight years. Tsai noted that the island’s GDP has risen from NT $17.5 trillion ($564 billion USD) to over NT$23 trillion ($741 billion USD), that the Taiwan Stock Index rose from 8,131 to 17,930 points, which outperformed Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, and that Taiwan is now the world’s 21st largest economy, and the sixth most competitive. Tsai also mentioned that Taiwan’s debt-to-GDP ratio has gone down from 32.97 percent to 27.17 percent during her tenure, and her government has paid off over NT$900 billion ($29.0 billion USD) in debt, more than any administration. She also highlighted trade agreements with the US, UK, South Korea and Canada, and that foreign investment in Taiwan now exceeds NT$2.4 trillion [$77.3 billion USD] and includes powerhouses like Nvidia and AMD. Tsai also mentioned that exports to the US have increased more than 120 percent during her presidency.
In her New Year’s speech, Tsai stated that “[d]emocracy and freedom…stand as a fortress within geopolitics that we must defend.” Will her DPP party win the election, and preserve Taiwan’s independence from an increasingly belligerent China?
Border Patrol Council President concerned over ‘influx’ of military-aged Chinese men crossing the southern border
According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data Border Patrol agents detained over 30,000 Chinese individuals for illegally crossing the border from January to November 2023, sparking concern.
Just The News reports that National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd on Wednesday said the United States should be incredibly concerned by the influx of military-aged Chinese men coming across the southern border.
“Why are we seeing this influx?” Judd asked on the “Just the News, No Noise” TV show. “At best, they’re just coming here for a better life or for a better job. At worse, they’re coming here to be part of the Chinese government, and that’s what scares me an awful lot.”
“We know that the Chinese have huge gangs here in the United States, and they control certain parts of our country,” he later said. “They control the drug flow. They control the prostitution. They control everything that’s illegal in certain portions of the country. We have to look into that. It’s very important that we understand why we are having so many people from China, especially military-aged men, from China.”
“I don’t want to cause mass hysteria where United States citizens are violent towards people from China,” Judd said. “However, we have to … allow the intelligence community to do their job. We’ve got to let law enforcement do their job and look into these individuals.”
Many Chinese immigrants are leaving due to economic conditions in China and its strict lockdowns, Yahoo News reported.
“Again, at best, they’re here for a better life,” Judd said. “At worst, they’re here to be part of the Chinese government to infiltrate our own country.”
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