President Tsai Ing-wen attended the opening ceremony for the 27th Pan-Pacific & Southeast Asia Women's Association (PPSEAWA) international conference on the morning of June 23. She looked forward to working with the association to join forces with all countries, so that women's status and issues worldwide receive more attention around the globe, and we can make even more progress.
In remarks, President Tsai stated that PPSEAWA was established more than 90 years ago, and has a storied history. The international conferences held every three years are the biggest events for PPSEAWA members, so it was particularly meaningful for Taiwan to host this conference for the first time. She then welcomed all of the special guests from 20 PPSEAWA member countries to Taiwan to take part in this event.
President Tsai expressed gratitude to PPSEAWA Taiwan President Regina Chen (陳淑珠) and our friends from PPSEAWA Taiwan. All of them have worked hard over the past few years to bring this conference to Taiwan, she said, giving us this important opportunity to share Taiwan's experiences and foster international exchanges.
The president stated that many PPSEAWA member countries, including Taiwan, are facing aging populations. The theme of this year's conference is Life's Journey to Wellbeing, she said, and over the next few days, participants will discuss the measures their countries are taking to respond to the challenges of aging.
Everyone ages, and we must ensure that the elderly can receive the best care in places that are familiar to them, she said. This is the core concept of the Long-term Care 2.0 policy that Taiwan has been promoting for the past three years. We have promoted a community-based overall care model that provides meals and physical and mental training activities for the elderly just around the corner from their homes. She pointed out that we have also expanded the types and reach of our services to include dementia care and in-home medical services. The number of people using long-term care services in Taiwan has increased considerably. Between January and May of this year, the number of users grew more than 1.5 times compared to the same time period two years ago, and national service coverage has reached 38%.
The president pointed out that this year's conference will also focus on another important topic: the role of women in aging societies facing labor shortages. We are working hard to increase women's participation in the labor force, she said, and encouraging them to pursue and achieve their goals. She continued, saying that in Taiwan, we offer women flexible working hours so that they can better balance their career and family. We have also designated women reentering the job market as a key demographic that we are encouraging employers to hire. Women that want to start a business can receive entrepreneurial guidance and take courses free of charge, and they can receive the capital they need to start their businesses through government loan programs.
The president emphasized that the Taiwan government hopes to do more, and do better. She stated that all of the conference participants are opinion leaders that have focused on women's issues for many years, and she looked forward to hearing about their countries' policies, as well as their opinions, to serve as reference for Taiwan's future policy.
She further stated that as a woman president, she feels a calling to promote women's empowerment both at home and abroad. Over the past few years, she continued, she has visited the Marshall Islands to take part in the Pacific Women Leaders' Coalition Conference, and Taiwan has engaged in cooperative projects with the United States, shining a spotlight on women's empowerment in the Indo-Pacific. All of this is a testament to the fact that Taiwan can contribute more to global women's issues, she said.
In closing, President Tsai expressed confidence that all conference participants feel that same calling, and that is why they chose to attend. She welcomed them all once again, and expressed hope that Taiwan can join forces with all countries, so that women's status and issues receive more attention around the globe, and we can make even more progress. She wished them all a productive conference, and for continued success for the PPSEAWA. She then joined in a tour of the various booths at the conference.
Also in attendance were PPSEAWA Taiwan President Chen, Taiwan Federation of Commerce President Pen-Tsao Chang (張平沼), Former First Lady of the Republic of Fiji Adi Koila Nailatikau, and Malaysian Member of Parliament Khairy Jamaluddin.
President Tsai then took questions from the media. Addressing the mass rally that day against pro-China media, the president thanked Holger Chen (陳之漢) and all the event organizers. She then said this protest rally shows that Taiwan society is concerned about China's infiltration of Taiwan media, and expressed her belief that the rally will increase awareness of this phenomenon in Taiwan. At the same time, she said, our society is facing more than just the threat of media infiltration, and citizens are quite concerned about many national security issues. So over the past few years, the government has continuously strengthened national security operations.
President Tsai further explained that over the past year, the government has passed numerous laws, including legally authorizing administrative units to bolster national security measures. That includes the passage of amendments to the National Security Act, and regulations protecting classified information. These legal achievements all reflect our efforts over the past few years, and especially with the recent passage of a series of legal amendments, executive agencies have greater legal authorization to protect national security.
President Tsai also mentioned that for some time now, the government has taken a two-pronged approach through legislative and executive means to strengthen measures against false information and disinformation, and she hopes that through enhanced enforcement, a stronger legal basis, and international cooperation, we can banish false information and disinformation from Taiwan society.