Distinguished Guests, Ladies & Gentlemen,
On behalf of the people and Government of Taiwan, I wish to express to you my warmest welcome to join us in celebrating the 108th National Day.
Brief Introduction of Taiwan
Ilha Formosa (Beautiful Island) Portuguese sailors noted on their maps an uncharted island they sighted back in 1542. The name Formosa sticks up-to-date to the island that is nowadays known as Taiwan, officially the Republic of China.
Taiwan has an area of 35,808 square kilometres (only about one-thirteenth of that of PNG), yet with a population of 23.7 million (nearly four times of PNG), which makes Taiwan among the most densely populated states around the world.
In the early 1960s, albeit with hardly any natural resources, Taiwan entered a period of rapid economic growth and industrialisation. The quick industrialization and rapid growth of Taiwan during the latter half of the 20th century has been called the ‘Taiwan Miracle’ and made Taiwan one of the ‘Four Asian Tigers’, alongside Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore.
Here are some statics of our successful achievement in economic development:
2018 Unemployment Rate in Taiwan averaged 3.71%.
In 1960, Taiwan’s per-capita income was a mere US$160, in 2018 it leapt to US$25,004, ranking 15th worldwide.
In 1960, Taiwan’s GDP grossed only US$1.6 billion. In 2018 it totalled US$ 590 billion, made it the 21st largest economy in the world. The forex reserve was measured at US$ 462 billion, 5th highest worldwide. Total trade amounted US$ 623 billion, making Taiwan the 18th biggest exporting country and the 19th importing country, respectively.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2018, published by the Swiss-based World Economic Forum, ranked Taiwan 13th in the world among 140 countries surveyed. This put Taiwan at 4th in the Asia-Pacific, behind Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong, but ahead of Australia, South Korea and New Zealand. Taiwan was also recognized as one of four super innovators—the others being Germany, the United States, and Switzerland—and shared the top spot in macroeconomic stability. Its financial system was also ranked 7th worldwide.
Apart from our economic achievements, Taiwan also went through various stages of political reforms and advances into a full-fledged democracy. Taiwan is praised highly in terms of political and civil liberties, education, health care and human development.
Bilateral Relationship between Taiwan & PNG
Since 1990, the bilateral relationship between PNG & Taiwan has been closer and closer.
Here’s a brief summary:
Taiwan Technical Mission in PNG has a demonstration field at the NARI headquarters in Lae, producing rice seeds for NARI to distribute, as well as taro seedlings and sweet potato seedlings for the farmers. In the past 5 years, 88 basic crops production skill training had been conducted, with more than 2,500 farmers attending.
Taiwan started health cooperation with PNG in 2010. Mobile Medical Missions from the Changhua Christian Hospital (CCH) come to visit Nonga General Hospital (NGH) in Rabaul twice every year. CCH not only dispatches specialists and nurses to conduct medical voluntary service at NGH, but also provides training programmes to NGH staff as well as donation of medical material.
From 2000 onward, Taiwan has offered more than 100 scholarships of undergraduate and graduate degrees at various universities for PNG students.
- Capacity Building Programmes
Every year, International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF), International Centre for Land Policy Studies and Training, as well as US-Taiwan Global Cooperation & Training Framework, have provided seminars and workshops on health, transportation, big data, trade, creative economy development, circular agriculture, land utilisation and reform, women’s economic empowerment, and network and emerging technologies. More than 30 PNGians from the government, the media and private sector participated in those seminars and workshops.
Trade volume between our two countries totalled US$ 727 million in 2018, with PNG surplus of US$ 615 million. Taiwan is the 3rd largest buyer of PNG LNG. We look forward to strengthening the trade ties. There is obviously great potential there. I strongly urge PNG businessmen to visit Taiwan not only to explore the business opportunities but also enjoy the delicious cuisines from all over the world as well the friendliness of the Taiwanese.
Since 1949, the Communist regime in China has relentlessly attempted to influence Taiwan through diplomatic suppression, military intimidation, and political infiltration. It has not only unilaterally affected the status quo of stability across the Taiwan Strait, but also created tensions throughout the region. To safeguard national sovereignty, we will continue to strengthen our defence capabilities, expediting the manufacture of indigenous fighter jets and naval vessels, and bolstering our defence autonomy through regular arms purchases and defence industry cooperation and dialogue with like-minded nations. We shall continue to survive and prosper.
As I mentioned earlier, Taiwan has transformed from an agricultural society into a digital-tech and service industrial economy since 1960’s. Followed by peaceful transformation from an authoritarian regime to a vibrant democratic system in the 80’s. These economic and democratic achievements had been accomplished through the united and dedicated efforts from the government and people of Taiwan. We cherish what we have today, especially the hard-earned freedoms of expression, association, movement, and religion. We staunchly reject and refuse to accept the Communist China’s so-called ‘one country, two systems.’
The blooming protests for democracy in Hong Kong for the past three months prove that the Communist China’s ‘one country, two systems’ for Hong Kong transition has failed – it is just a sheer fiction. The best and only way to resolve the situation at hand is for the Communist China to listen to Hong Kong people, to respect their civil rights – including free election of governor and legislators. Taiwan fully supports the 2019 Hong Kong protests and expresses its solidarity with the people of Hong Kong.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me with a toast for the everlasting friendship between PNG and Taiwan, the success of the Marape-Steven Government and the continuous well-being and prosperity of our two nations. Salute.