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September 21, 2017

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Ma vows action in National Day address

President Ma Ying-jeou struck a conciliatory tone yesterday in his National Day address, which pledged concrete government responses to public criticism.

"Some of our government's policies have received criticism from the public. This has at times been dire," Ma said yesterday at the annual National Day ceremony at Ketagalan Boulevard.

"We have listened very attentively to these criticisms. We have taken a close look at our performance and sought to make improvements. Our response will come in the form of concrete action."

His half-hour speech, delivered yesterday morning under a light drizzle, could be a sign of how far Ma has plummeted in the polls in recent months. By contrast, the president's National Day speech a year ago praised Taiwan for its "limitless vistas" and "freedom, democracy and affluence."

Four Priorities

Yesterday, Ma said that the government will act in concrete ways on four high-priority problems: limited job opportunities, issues of territorial sovereignty, cross-strait relations and stagnant salary levels.

"Although Taiwan's economy has grown over the past dozen years, many people have seen their salaries remain stagnant, and they are naturally unhappy about it," he said.

"In order to resolve this difficult situation, our industry must move toward higher value-added development; only then will labor productivity increase and salary levels rise."

Ma also promised specific actions to bolster job opportunities, such as relaxing investment restrictions to allow in more foreign companies and boosting the new tourism industry.

In addition, Ma spoke on strategies for improving cross-strait relations and peacefully defending Taiwan's sovereignty over the Diaoyutais.

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