President Tsai Ing-wen: Taiwan needs me

Tsai registered for the DPP primaries before leaving on a 3-nation Pacific tour

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President Tsai Ing-wen (right) registered for the DPP presidential primaries Thursday.

President Tsai Ing-wen (right) registered for the DPP presidential primaries Thursday. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The ruling Democratic Progressive Party and Taiwan need me, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Thursday after registering for the party’s presidential primaries.

She did so just hours before leaving on a March 21-28 tour of three Pacific allies, Palau, Nauru and the Marshall Islands, which will also include a stopover in Hawaii.

“Because the DPP needs Tsai Ing-wen, I have once again to shoulder responsibility for the next phase,” the Central News Agency quoted her as saying. Tsai ran for president in 2012 and lost, but in 2016 she returned and won, even helping the DPP to an unprecedented absolute majority at the Legislative Yuan.

Outside the country there were threats, inside they were challenges, Tsai said, emphasizing the difficult nature of Taiwan’s present situation.

If you wanted to serve as president, there were three preconditions, according to Tsai.

Familiarity with foreign affairs was the first one, since a president of Taiwan needed to link up with countries sharing similar values of freedom and democracy to counter the threat from China.

The second precondition was the continuation of domestic reforms, Tsai said, adding that previous governments had only postponed the resolution of problems, why she preferred to tackle them head on in order to change the country.

Finally, the president should not just be a star player, but also a good captain,

“The answer to these three questions is Tsai Ing-wen, so I’m coming to register, to face the challenge,” she said.

On March 18, former Premier William Lai (賴清德) unexpectedly registered to run in the presidential primaries as well. The DPP has formed a committee to address the situation and eventually find a solution by April 2, a date which might have to be postponed due to Tsai’s overseas voyage.

The official announcement of the party’s candidate in the January 11, 2020 election has been scheduled for April 17.