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July 22, 2017

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President Ma's National Day speech 'empty': Tsai Ing-wen

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said yesterday that President Ma Ying-jeou's National Day remarks were "empty."

Tsai yesterday did not attend the National Day ceremony held annually at the Presidential Office. Instead, the former DPP chairwoman was on a prearranged day trip in Nantou County (南投縣).

Tsai told local media yesterday that she has read Ma's speech. There is "something about Ma's remarks" that gives the people a sense of unease, she said when local media pressed her for comment.

"From the look of it, he is speaking like a president in his first year, not a president in his fifth. The speech is very empty," she said.

In Wednesday's address, Ma pledged to revise a law governing civilian exchanges so that China and Taiwan can establish representative offices in one another's territories.

Asked to weigh in on the plan, Tsai said that Ma should not overlook the extreme complexities of the issue and should not treat the idea of mutual representative offices as a "propaganda gambit."

From the outset, the aim and the meaning of these representative offices must be absolutely clear, or else Ma risks creating enormous problems, she said.

On Wednesday, Tsai was touring tea fields in Nantou's Yuchih Township (魚池鄉) and coffee plantations in Guoshing Township (國姓鄉).

Meanwhile, DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) was also absent from the Presidential Office's National Day ceremony, spending the day instead in Chiayi City (嘉義市).

Talking to media, Su also appeared skeptical regarding Ma's National Day remarks, which charted a vision for Taiwan's economic development.

"A nation's leader does have a responsibility to boost the economy so that people can have a good life. That's the birthday wish of the people," Su said.

"But instead of talking big on National Day, Ma would do better to pay a few more visits to the countryside to understand the suffering of the people."

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