Vice President Lien Chan this morning addressed the opening ceremony of the 1997 Combined Congress of the Asia Pacific Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and the Knee and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Section of the Western Pacific Orthopaedic Association, which was held in Taipei.
The full text of the Vice President's speech is as follows:
I am indeed honored and pleased to have been invited to deliver this address at the opening of the 1997 Combined Congress of the Asia Pacific Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and the Knee and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Section of the Western Pacific Orthopaedic Association. On behalf of the government of the Republic of China, I would link to take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt welcome to the many distinguished medical professionals who have traveled from all over the world to be with us here today. You have my highest regards for your outstanding contributions to the health and welfare of mankind.
Sports in the ROC today are as widely, deeply, and indelibly ingrained in the national consciousness as they are in the Western world. And with the number of individuals participating on the rise, sports are more a part of life than ever before. Thus when injuries unfortunately occur, the impact is felt on a much more personal level. The treatment of such injuries has therefore taken on new importance. Indeed, the quality of care given to both competitive and recreational athletes in Taiwan is of the highest caliber.
Health care issues are complex, with important ramifications for our nation and our future. In 1995, the ROC government implemented a nationwide health insurance program. In spite of widespread controversy and much shouting by legislators, physicians and even the public, the program has proved successful in improving the quality of life of the people on this island. The ROC government is committed to maintaining our preeminence and applying our experience to achieve further improvements.
Taiwan has been recognized as a model of econmic and political development for developing countries. The residents of Taiwan find gratification in the great success they have achieved through their joint efforts. Taiwan's developed economy, material prosperity, and above all, democratic government, are a source of pride. Moreover, this rock-solid foundation serves as an invaluable support for continued development. As Taiwan races toward the new century, research institions will become the focus of expectations greater than ever before. The nation will look to them to carry on our tradition of achievement and success.
It is widely believed that the greatest progress in industry over the next few years will be in the area of biotechnology. For this reason, medical centers and research institutions are expanding the scope of their research activities. They are seeking to more precisely determine the causes of diseases and evaluate the benefits of different therapies, treatments and methods of prevention. It is our hope that this congress will serve as a forum for the exchange of scientific information, which will in turn promote international cooperation and upgrade the quality of related research on Taiwan. The potential benefit to mankind of such exchanges is indeed incalculable, and thus the ROC government has always welcomed international meetings and congresses such as the one we convene today.
The emerald green island of Taiwan is renowned not only for its breath-taking scenic beauty, but also for its Chinese traditions and rich cultural heritage. I would like to extend to all of you a heartfelt welcome and an invitation to avail yourself of our warm hospitailty. I am confident that you and your families will enjoy and profit from your visit to the Republic of China on Taiwan.