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President Tsai convenes high-level national security meeting  
President Tsai convenes high-level national security meeting  

With the Lunar New Year holiday approaching, President Tsai Ing-wen convened a high-level national security meeting on the morning of January 28 at the Presidential Office Building, where discussions focused on three key issues: the situation in Ukraine and its possible impact on the situation in the Taiwan Strait; our pandemic response and the availability of disease prevention supplies during and after the Lunar New Year holiday; and measures to stabilize prices and the supply of goods, while also maintaining stability in Taiwan's stock and foreign exchange markets during this period. After listening to briefings from various agencies, President Tsai delivered the following remarks issuing three directives:

First, Taiwan must continue to closely monitor the situation in Ukraine, while our government agencies must ensure our national security as well as peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region at large.

Taiwan has long faced military threats and intimidation from China, and can therefore empathize with the situation in Ukraine. We support all efforts to maintain regional security, and call on all sides to step up peaceful dialogue and talks, resolve disputes in a rational manner, and work together to maintain regional stability.

I have directed the National Security Council to form a Ukraine task force which will closely monitor developments in eastern Ukraine and any possible impact on our national security. This task force is to stay in close contact and cooperate with the relevant nations, keep up to date on the situation, promptly report any findings, and respond appropriately.

With the Lunar New Year holiday quickly approaching, our armed forces and national security personnel must stand firm at their posts to ensure our national security, maintain social stability, and uphold peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region at large.

We want to reiterate that Taiwan wishes to contribute to peaceful development in the region. Upholding peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific is not just the responsibility of regional governments, it is the expectation of all people in the region and the entire international community. It is universally accepted that military action is not the way to resolve differences.

Second, as we work to control the pandemic and ensure that our healthcare system has sufficient capacity, we must be on the alert but not panic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected countries around the world for over two years, new variants keep emerging, and the situation continues to evolve. With the Taiwan model of the past two years as our foundation, we will prudently reassess our measures and objectives for each stage of the pandemic, and make timely adjustments and advance preparations.

Due to the spread of the Omicron variant, the pandemic remains severe worldwide, and there has been an increase in local transmissions here in Taiwan. Though an upsurge in travel is inevitable during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, our government will not ease up in the fight against COVID-19.

At this time, Taiwan has enough COVID-19 wards, centralized quarantine facilities, quarantine hotels, and disease prevention supplies, while more vaccines and other pharmaceuticals continue to be delivered. The government will ensure that our healthcare system has sufficient capacity and operates soundly, so the people of Taiwan can rest assured.

I want to thank all the pandemic heroes as well as the people of Taiwan for coming together to control the spread of COVID-19 for the past two years. As we face this latest uptick in cases, whether working at our borders or in local communities, or managing venues and public transport, our central and local governments will continue coordinating to fight the pandemic.

I also hope my fellow citizens will remain calm in the face of this challenge, and remember to be on the alert, but not panic. And I ask that everyone keep up to date with our Central Epidemic Command Center guidelines, follow all proper preventive measures, and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Scientific analysis shows that getting a third vaccine dose greatly reduces the chance of dying or suffering serious symptoms from COVID-19, so I urge everyone to encourage any friends or relatives who have not yet been fully vaccinated, especially seniors, to hurry up and get their shots if they are eligible.

By following disease preventive measures and getting vaccinated, we protect both ourselves and others. So, let's all work together to make Taiwan more resilient in the face of the pandemic and keep our economy running smoothly.

Third, we need to take measures to stabilize prices as well as the supply of goods during the Lunar New Year holiday, and maintain a stable economy while keeping a close eye on international developments.

I want to again thank my fellow citizens for your unity and hard work. Thanks to you, Taiwan achieved outstanding economic growth last year. In its latest statistics released just yesterday, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics revised last year's economic growth rate upward to 6.28 percent, an 11-year high. Meanwhile, the Executive Yuan has taken measures to ensure that we can all share in the fruits of this success. Military personnel, civil servants, and educators will receive a 4 percent pay rise this year, and the private sector is likely to follow suit with employers expected to raise pay by 2 to 5 percent.

However, we do face both international and domestic inflationary pressures. Government agencies must continue to use all the policy tools at their disposal to maintain price stability, lighten the burdens faced by our people, and mitigate the impact of global inflation. Above all, with the Lunar New Year holiday just around the corner, to make sure that goods are in plentiful supply and prices are stable, I have directed the Executive Yuan to oversee our government agencies as they implement related measures.

At the same time, I have asked all government agencies to keep a close watch on international affairs and any changes in the pandemic during the holiday period, and to respond with appropriate measures while maintaining economic stability. In the event that international developments lead to irrational behavior and disorder in our stock markets, I have instructed the Financial Supervisory Commission and the Ministry of Finance to monitor the situation carefully and draw up response measures in advance. In addition, I have asked the Central Bank to closely monitor inward and outward remittances by foreign companies in Taiwan, and to take appropriate response measures.

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